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UPC Wind reneges on local jobs

As a matter of introduction I am Mike Altonberg, Business Agent for The Ironworkers in Rochester. Four or five months ago I was told by UPC Wind management that their general contractor for the wind turbine projects in Cohocton & Prattsburgh would be hiring all local people for the building of the towers. At a meeting last Tuesday, in Cohocton, we were informed that things have changed and now all the workers will be brought in from out of state. The company, Mortenson Construction from Minnesota, will bring workers from out west, and local construction workers are locked out of all that work. All those wages paid will not be invested in our local economy but instead sent out west. Is that a slap in the face to all the hard working unemployed construction workers in our area? I’ve been told that UPC promised local governments (as they promote on their website) that it’s important to hire locally but obviously not in our case! Now that the project is a go & they’ve been caught in a lie, how many more lies have they told? UPC should be escorted to the state line & told not to come back.

We were promised three years ago by Jim Sharon, Steuben County IDA that this would be a project that would use local labor. Lawrence Mott from UPC actually told me a couple of weeks ago that Jim told him to contact me about the labor, of course that went down the drain. We are extremely upset & plan some job actions against UPC & Mortenson. In the past Mortenson has used local people all across the country but in Cohocton & Prattsburgh they feel like they can run rampant & do as they please!

Mike Altonberg
September 17, 2007