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July 16, 2021 | Around the NASRCC, Political Action

Vineyard Wind shows value of carpenter political action

Union members today got another reminder of the importance of political and legislative action when Vineyard Wind developers signed a PLA for the offshore green energy project at the New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal.

The project was given final approval by the Biden administration this year and will generate hundreds of union jobs at its location 15 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard and many more in on-shore manufacturing and staging areas. It will also benefit from green energy tax credits that were extended early this year by the GREEN Act with the help of Congressman Richard Neal of Massachusetts, John Larson of Connecticut and Brian Higgins and Tom Suozzi, of New York, who worked to move the bill out of committee.

Joe Byrne, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the North Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters attended the signing event and spoke. Local 56 member Joshua Griggsby also spoke about his experience participating in construction of the New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal. They were joined by Pile Drivers Local 56 Representative Dave Borrus and member Julia Murphy. Senator Elizabeth Warren and Congressman Bill Galvin also attended and spoke.

Vineyard Wind will generate 800 megawatts and power more than 400,00 homes and businesses from it’s 62 wind turbines and reduce carbon emissions by over 1.6 million tons per year. It is the first utility-scale offshore wind farm in the United States.

Dave Woodman and Dan Kuhs, retired representatives from Pile Drivers Local 56, took an early lead on supporting the project. Current Rep Dave Borrus has also played a key role in developing offshore safety training for the project and coordinating members to speak at public hearings and attend rallies.

Local 56 was awarded a $100,000 workplace training grant to support marine-based energy construction. It used that funding to train dozens of members through a program at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy.

“This is a perfect example of why union carpenters are politically active,” said Byrne. “It’s why we supported Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Richie Neal, Bill Galvin, John Larson, Brian Higgins and Tom Suozzi. They have listened, understood and delivered legislation and funding that is putting our members to work.”