Empire Wind and NY Building & Construction Trades Council sign PLA for offshore wind hub construction

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New York Construction Report staff writer

Empire Wind and the Building & Construction Trades Council of Greater New York and Vicinity (BCTC) have signed a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) for construction of the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal (SBMT). The revitalized SBMT will play a key role in Equinor’s development of the Empire Wind offshore wind project as a staging and assembly site and as a home for the project’s operations and maintenance base.

This first-of-its-kind PLA for Equinor is a commitment to building SBMT responsibly with the help of New York’s union construction workforce. The agreement will establish working standards, industry-leading safety practices, and equity in the construction of the terminal, creating over 1,000 union construction jobs and apprenticeships in local New York communities, as well as thousands of indirect jobs in manufacturing, shipping and logistics.

“The creation of offshore wind not only propels New York towards its climate goals, but also represents an opportunity to create thousands of good paying union careers, bolster our middle class, and provide our local communities with much needed economic stimulus,” said Gary LaBarbera, President of the Building & Construction Trades Council of Greater New York and Vicinity. “The signing of this Project Labor Agreement is a crucial step in capitalizing on this for the Empire Wind project, and we thank Equinor for their collaboration on it.

“This agreement will work to ensure New York’s hardworking tradesmen and tradeswomen are able to seize these opportunities and work in an environment with strong safety standards, family-sustaining wages, and good benefits, all of which will help our city and state make the most out of the clean energy transition.”

The PLA also promotes engagement with Minority- and Women-Owned Businesses (MWBE) and Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Businesses (SDVOB) and includes a local hire requirement that gives priority to union members who are Section 3 New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) residents, veterans, and those who live in Sunset Park.

“This project labor agreement ensures that SBMT’s construction will provide union jobs with family-sustaining wages, industry-leading safety standards, and robust and equitable training programs to help communities from across New York City enter this new industry,” said Molly Morris, president of Equinor Renewables Americas. “As the hub for Empire Wind, SBMT will play a transformational role in the development of the offshore wind industry and deliver more than renewable energy generated off New York’s shores.

“It will spur a durable new industry for the Empire State. We would like to also acknowledge Senator Chuck Schumer’s key efforts in standing with our industry and our project through turbulent economic headwinds.”

The agreement also ensures labor harmony during the construction of SBMT, establishes uniform wages and benefits, and ensures a steady supply of New York labor throughout the project.

Construction at SBMT is expected to begin next week, starting with the demolition of existing outbuildings, excavation of the site, and bulkhead preparation work. Contracts covered by the agreement include Skanska, GE-BOND and Nexans.

Beyond the signing of the project labor agreement, Empire Wind has invested millions of dollars through its Ecosystem Fund to work with New York-based groups to educate and train New Yorkers for future jobs that will be created within offshore wind.

The BCTC is an organization of local building and construction trade unions that are affiliated with 15 International Unions in the North American Building Trades Union. The local union affiliates represent approximately 100,000 union construction workers in the New York City region.

“It’s an honor to join forces with Equinor and BCTC on this groundbreaking SBMT project,” said Kane Cuddy, President of BOND Civil & Utility Construction. “The benefit of transitioning to clean energy can only be fully realized when we find a way to lift up the local labor market in the process.

“The collaborations with MWBEs, SDVOBs and NYCHA are a model for future projects nationwide and BOND is proud to play a part in this innovative approach. By merging this talent with our combined expertise in the construction of generation, transmission, and distribution assets, we’ll ensure a smooth process and help New York State achieve its clean energy goals.”

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