Unionized construction workers are accusing the company behind a major wind energy project in north-central Isabella County of breaking a promise to hire local workers, and plan to let people know about it all week.
Approximately 55 union workers picketed to let people know about it on Monday, said Chris Taylor, a representative with the Construction Labors Local 1098. Their focus of their ire is Apex Clean Energy LLC, but because the company’s office is tucked back into Rosebush they stood at the corner of Rosebush and Mission Roads for better visibility.
Taylor lives in Bay City, a part of the state where construction unions are at their strongest, but he said most of the people demonstrating are from Isabella County. The union workers picketing this week are mostly construction laborers, he said.
Taylor categorized the action as a community demonstration to let people know that while Apex came to town promising to hire local workers that they can’t get a meeting with the company. Furthermore, the company they went with, Fagen Inc., a company Taylor said has OSHA violations.
Shortly after the laborers started their demonstration, Apex issued a press release. Rather than dispute the laborers’ assertions, they instead pointed to Michigan companies – including some from mid-Michigan – currently working on the project that employ local workers.
- Central Concrete and Fisher Transportation, both of which operate from 900 S. Bradley St. in Mt. Pleasant. Central Concrete is supplying all of the concrete for the project and Fisher was hired to handle civil construction, including improvements to county roads and construction of access roads from public rights-of-way to the turbines.
- Apex has also hired Mills Excavating of Ithaca to handle drain tile repair and replacement an other agriculture-related issues.
- MJ Electric of Iron Mountain to handle transmission line construction.
- Ten-Mile Paving, subcontracted through Fisher to handle road stabilization.
Fisher, MJ and Ten-Mile use 100 percent unionized Michigan workers, the press release says.
To help drive their point home, they brought a blow-up rat that Taylor said is his but that they bring to these sorts of labor-related actions.
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