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Jan
2015
9

PLA to Guarantee Maximum Local Impact Despite Massive Scale of Jordan Cove LNG Project

Jordan Cove, rendered.

Jordan Cove, rendered.


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A Project Labor Agreement (PLA) signed between Kiewit, Black & Veatch, and the Oregon Building and Construction Trades Council (OBCTC) for work on the Jordan Cove Liquid Natual Gas (LNG) venture will result in local unions being well represented on the jobsite. And while local hiring mandates are central to many PLAs, the sheer size of this project means nearly two-thirds of workers will come from more than 50 miles away. 

Early estimates suggest that 3,500 workers will be needed to build the LNG terminal and corresponding Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline.  Of those workers, 1,076 will be from the North Bend, and an additional 2,373 will be itinerant workers from the Pacific Northwest.  

From The World:

Within the agreement, the contractor and all subcontractors are required to use the wage benefit rates for all crafts in collective bargaining agreements. It also provides work rules, standardized stop and start times, holidays, apprenticeship goals, and no-strike and no-lockout agreements.

John Mohlis, Executive Secretary of the OBCTC, explained how the PLA will work:

The agreement specifies that you will use a hiring process through all local unions based in Oregon: Local 290 for plumbers and pipefitters, Local 932 in North Bend for electricians,” he said. “But obviously Local 932 is not going to man that thing by themselves. They will then next turn to the local electricians union in the state. There’s one in Tangent, Portland and Medford (IBEW locals 280, 48 and 659, respectively).

“But they will utilize those (local) members to the best of their ability before they would ever contemplate bringing in somebody from out of state. That’s true with all crafts.”

In the summer of 2014 Kiewit business manager Lyle Perry estimated that 600 pipefitters, 250 ironworkers, 200 laborers, 200 operators, 200 carpenters, and 150 boilermakers would be needed during peak construction. The large number of prospective out-of-region workers that are being discussed has some residents fearing the project will not deliver maximum economic impact on the region. But the PLA undoubtedly mitigates this concern as well as any contract tool could, ensuring that local unions will be busy throughout the construction process.  

As Mohlis explained to The World, the reality of the situation is that the region cannot provide enough workers.  

“I think there’s always concern from some people in the community when a very big project is going to be built, and obviously there are going to be workers that come from outside the Coos Bay-North Bend area,” Mohlis said. “You’re just not going to build a project of that size and scope in a small community and not bring in people from outside the area. Having said that, every effort is going to be made to … staff it with Oregonians and southwest Washingtonians.”

The PLA will guarantee that the apprenticeship process generates new workers in the area.  Last year, Oregon had the third highest level of underemployment behind Arizona and California. The number spiked to 164,000 in May of 2009 but dropped to 95,000 by June of 2014. The PLA sets the apprenticeship goal at 10 percent. 

“There’s going to be a lot of folks that are either unemployed or underemployed who now have the opportunity to start an apprenticeship on a project in the craft of their choice,” Mohlis said. “Once you learn a craft, you can take that craft with you any place.”

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