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Oppose Cheap Labor Practices, Do Not Oppose the Pursuit of Clean, Natural Gas Energy

Statement of Dennis Martire, Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) Vice President and Regional Manager of the Mid-Atlantic, On Recent Pipeline Explosion in Western Pennsylvania

Center Township, Pa. (September 12, 2018) – In response to an explosion on Energy Transfer Partner’s (ETP) Revolution Pipeline, a 100-mile long pipeline transporting natural gas from Butler County to Washington County, Dennis Martire made the following statement:

It is dangerous instances like this that literally fuel opponents of pipeline projects. While the explosion was not fatal, it resulted in property damage and evacuations for Pennsylvania residents in the pipeline’s vicinity. Thankfully, these local families face no irreplaceable damage since no lives were lost. Nonetheless, ETP needs to make changes because the company’s current practices endanger local residents and the fate of the entire clean, natural gas industry.

LIUNA defends its position with factual support that pipelines are the safest, most efficient way to transport natural gas as long as one crucial factor is present: a highly skilled workforce. Trained, reliable workers ensure pipelines are installed correctly so they operate safely. When the workforce consists of local residents, job opportunities rise for Pennsylvania’s working men and women. The familiarity with the land along with proper training provided by LIUNA makes their employment on pipelines invaluable.

Whether it’s energy infrastructure, roadways, bridges, or buildings, cheap labor practices open the doors to a wide-range of problems, as exemplified by ETP. The company could have worked with LIUNA and other local Building Trades unions on the Revolution Pipeline but decided not to solely over cost savings. The company relied on lower skilled, poorly trained, out-of-state workers in their chase for short-term savings. That lack of investment into its workforce put local residents at risk and created very little economic benefit for the community.

In the aftermath of this incident, I do not want to see responsible contractors forced to jump through more hoops to move forward on their pipelines. These are contractors who already utilize skilled workers, pay them a living wage and benefits for their efforts, and constantly monitor and report to appropriate organizations. Using skilled, reliable workers that LIUNA offers for essential energy infrastructure saves lives and the environment, not to mention saves companies money in the long-run. Oppose cheap labor practices. Do not oppose the pursuit of clean, natural gas energy.

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The Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) Mid-Atlantic Region represents more than 40,000 working men and women predominantly in the construction industry in Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, the District of Columbia, Virginia and North Carolina.

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