Offshore wind developer Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind - a U.S. joint venture between Shell and EDF, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with six unions operating in New Jersey as part of its bid submission, "committing to help develop and employ a productive, safe, well-trained local workforce."
The company in December 2020 submitted its bid to the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities to supply the state with up to 2,300 MW of renewable wind energy. New Jersey seeks to award between 1,200 MW and 2,400 MW of offshore wind energy projects as part of its second solicitation.
Regarding the agreement with the union announced on Thursday, Atlantic Shores said: "With this agreement, Atlantic Shores is solidifying its place at the forefront of not only the state’s burgeoning offshore wind industry but also as a creator of new, union workforce opportunities for decades to come,"
Atlantic Shores said the labor agreement was "the strongest commitment to date by a United States offshore wind developer to train local residents and tradespeople and use union labor and employers wherever possible."
"New Jersey is poised to be a national leader in green economy job creation, and it is corporate partnerships like this that will make it possible," Atlantic Offshore Wind said.
The company signed the agreement with Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters, Laborers’ International Union of North America, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 456, Local 400 and Local 351, International Union of Operating Engineers Local 825, Ironworkers International and Eastern Millwright Regional Council.
“Union labor helped to build New Jersey, and if our bid is selected, union labor will be central to building its renewable energy infrastructure and sustainable future,” said Joris Veldhoven, commercial director at Atlantic Shores. “As a developer, we are proud to commit to working with these six unions, training and cultivating a robust offshore wind workforce. We hope this will serve as a model for local labor partnerships in the offshore wind industry.”
"We're very pleased to have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Atlantic Shores. They appreciate the value that working with New Jersey’s organized labor brings to the offshore wind industry. Organized labor offers the most skilled and best trained men and women in the state with the skills necessary for this industry to grow. Atlantic Shores is taking a proactive approach to working with local unions through signing this agreement and we look forward to our future together," said Bill Sproule, Executive Secretary Treasurer, Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters (EASRCC). The EASRCC represents approximately 40,000 union carpenters across NJ, PA, DE, MD, DC, VA, WV and Puerto Rico.
Specifically, the agreement outlines how the unions and Atlantic Shores will work together to create training and apprenticeship programs for New Jersey workers to support not just the project but the broader offshore wind industry; Further integrate union workers into the offshore wind workforce, including encouraging suppliers or contractors bidding to be part of the project to enter into labor agreements; and support the Helmets to Hardhats Program, which helps military and US Coast Guard personnel, as well as National Guardsmen and Reservists, transition into careers in offshore wind.
"The Ironworkers are excited to partner with Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind and the other crafts to be a part of this landmark agreement that will lead to the training and employment of our members in New Jersey," said Ray Woodall, Business Manager at Ironworkers Local 11.
"We are proud of the steps Local 825 has already taken to transform our Training Centers into Institutions of Higher Learning to prepare our members for the jobs of the future. Operating Engineers are poised to be the go-to location for the training required to build green infrastructure in the safest and most efficient way possible,” said Greg Lalavee, Business Manager for IUOE Local 825. “This signed agreement with Atlantic Shores validates all of these efforts and our partnership ensures that NJ is ground zero for these training efforts. We could not be more pleased to be part of this achievement.”
"The economic future for New Jersey, and the country, will rest on our ability to deliver affordable, reliable energy – this means navigating the complicated regulatory processes that engulf citing energy generation and transmission,” said Mark Longo, Director of ELEC825. “Anything that streamlines the process is a huge win for all New Jersey. We applaud this proactive step toward making this project a reality through a partnership with the hard working men and women of the construction trades."