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Power of picketing; Solution nears for local workers in wind project

CHARLOTTE – Picketing continued Friday by local union steel workers near the location for the upcoming Cassadaga Wind project. However, a solution for both sides appears to be near.

Ironworkers Union 6 have been picketing on North Road, in the town of Charlotte, protesting that there aren’t enough local employees working on the wind project. The company has brought in out of state employees. Last month, an out of state employee tested positive for COVID-19, causing the project to be suspended for two weeks.

Union Business Manager Tom Halligan said company officials have been listening to their concerns. “It sounds like we might be getting some of our people there,” he said “They’re pretty much saying they’re going to hire us.”

Halligan said the tentative plan is for about 20 union members to be hired.

On Friday, the Sheriff’s Office came to the scene after there was some tension between a local town official and the union members. “I guess a town supervisor came up and he was concerned about the traffic saying they were choking the whole road off,” Halligan said.

“The sheriff came down. He was OK with everything.”

Halligan said the next step is for the union to get an agreement in writing, which he expects shortly. “Hopefully it will iron itself out and we won’t have to be up there except for working,” he said.

RWE Renewables, which is constructing the Cassadaga Wind project, states on its website the project is being built on mostly agricultural and recreational land and will include 37 turbines when completed. The project’s point of interconnection is National Grid’s 115kV lines 161 and 162 near the existing Moon Road substation in the Town of Stockton. Once built, the project will generate sufficient clean energy to power over 51,000 homes.

Tractor trailers have been delivering parts of the turbine this past week. Some parts were transported on Interstate 90 through Fredonia while others were delivered through Interstate 86 in Jamestown.