Laborers Union Recruits, Trains Pipeline Workers

I’ve been critical of labor unions on many occasions, but I’m not anti-union out of general principle. Unions can play a positive role in the economy. As an example, look at the partnership between the Laborers’ International Union of North American (LIUNA) and the Virginia Community College System.

LIUNA and VCCS have signed a memorandum of understanding to recruit and train Virginians to work on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

Pipeline workers will train at six Virginia community colleges near the pipeline route: Dabney S. Lancaster, Blue Ridge, Piedmont, Southside Virginia, Paul D. Camp, and Tidewater. In partnership, LIUNA and the colleges will recruit, screen, and train prospective workers, according to a joint press release issued last week.

Training will provide skills necessary for a range of pipeline work, including installing environmental control devices, clearing ground, coating and installing pipe, and restoring the right of way.

“Through our partnership with Virginia’s community colleges, we intend to hire well over half of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline workforce from those who live in nearby communities,” said Dennis Martire, vice president and regional manager of LIUNA Mid-Atlantic.

“This partnership reinforces LIUNA’s commitment to recruit and train as many Virginia residents as possible to work on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. This project is going to provide middle class wages and family health benefits to hundreds of our members across Virginia,” Martire added.

Now, I recognize that there are many outstanding issues associated with the pipeline construction — in particular, whether pipeline trenches can be dug without causing significant damage to fragile mountain terrain and water supplies. That issue will not be answered definitively until the project is complete and we can observe, not speculate, how well the job is done.

But everyone should agree about one thing: If the pipeline is to be constructed, which it is 99% certain to be despite last-ditch legal challenges, we want to make sure that the pipeline workers are well trained in their crafts and well versed in the construction plans to minimize environmental harm.

A construction company employing non-union labor would be hard-pressed to pull off the feat of screening, hiring, and training thousands of construction workers in remote communities across the state. Fulfilling that critical hiring and training function is a significant value-add. Good for LIUNA.

  • David Obermark

    Refreshing to hear this positive endorsement of Union labor on a conservative website.

    This comes from a Democrat who realizes that not every aspect of unions are positive. But, I also appreciate it when others realize it is not all negative.

    • Hey now…this isn’t the first time you’ve seen positive labor stuff on here. 🙂

      • Jim Portugul

        You wrote something to the effect that our government could not be taken down by the election of one bad president last year. But, you never commented on just how much damage one bad president could do.

        In your widest dreams you could never have predicted what a cash bonanza this nut job in the White House would be for K St. The spending Republicans are doing will eventually catch up with this country. The interest alone will strangle the budget. Hell, it already is.

        I’d like to know what country you plan to send your son to? There won’t be nothing left for him in this one.

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