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Vineyard Wind Promises Hundreds Of Union Jobs To Mass. Workers

The New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal will serve as the onshore staging ground for Vineyard Wind's project. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)
The New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal will serve as the onshore staging ground for Vineyard Wind's project. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

Vineyard Wind has signed a labor agreement promising 500 jobs to union workers in Massachusetts, as the company moves to build the first large-scale offshore wind farm in the United States.

The company announced the agreement with the Southeastern Massachusetts Building Trades Council, a labor organization that represents thousands of pipe fitters, electricians, carpenters and other tradespeople throughout the South Coast, Cape and Islands, at an event at the New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal on Friday.

Southeastern Mass. Building Trades Council President David Araujo (left, seated) shakes hands with Vineyard Wind CEO Lars Pedersen after signing a project labor agreement at the New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal. Miriam Wasser, WBUR
Southeastern Mass. Building Trades Council President David Araujo (left, seated) shakes hands with Vineyard Wind CEO Lars Pedersen after signing a project labor agreement at the New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal. Miriam Wasser, WBUR

United States National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy, Senators Elizabeth Warren and Edward J. Markey, and Massachusetts Energy Secretary Kathleen Theoharides attended the event, along with Massachusetts labor officials and members.

Labor leaders and workers praised the announcement.

"We've been given the false choice over the years that you could either have renewable energy or you have traditional energy with good union wages and benefits," said Frank Callahan, president of the Massachusetts Building Trades Council. "We showed today that that's not true, that we can have both."

"It's good for the unions because it's going to put a lot of people to work, but it's also to prove a point," said Joshua Grigsby, a pile driver with Local 56 in Boston. "It's a new source of energy that healthy for the environment. It's not hurting nobody."

Joshua Grigsby, a pile driver with Local 56 in Boston. Miriam Wasser, WBUR
Joshua Grigsby, a pile driver with Local 56 in Boston. Miriam Wasser, WBUR

The $2.8 billion Vineyard Wind project will be the first large-scale offshore wind farm in the United States, located about 14 miles south of Martha's Vineyard. The project is expected to provide power to more than 400,000 homes and businesses in Massachusetts, and reduce carbon emissions by more than 1.6 million tons per year.

Related:

Miriam Wasser Twitter Reporter, EarthWhile
Miriam Wasser is a reporter for WBUR's environmental vertical.

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