Union members stand ready to work the clean energy jobs that are becoming more and more prevalent in the Dakotas and Minnesota.
Laborers International Union of North America (LiUNA) Minnesota and North Dakota Regional Research Manager Lucas Franco Spoke about some of the problems with staffing clean energy projects and how to resolve them on America’s Work Force Union Podcast.
Clean energy jobs
Franco said the potential for clean energy jobs in the Dakotas and Minnesota is massive. The current problem is that many of these workers come from out of state.
The region has a history with developers coming into the area and promising family-supporting jobs to local community members on clean energy projects. Once they secure the project, they turn around and bring in labor from out of state.
Franco said in order to get locals working these jobs, training initiatives and other investments need to be made in order to prepare the local workforce for these types of projects.
He said local union tradesmen and tradeswomen have worked these projects sparingly, but he knows it can be done.
Throughout the region, counties in the various states are enacting wind moratoriums. This means that counties are prohibiting new wind energy projects from being initiated, as many jobs go to out of state workers.
Franco said these can be combated by establishing relationships between unions and developers. Unions have the power and experience to recruit workers, train them and dispatch them to jobs. This would keep tax revenue in the region and provide family-supporting clean energy jobs for the tradesmen and tradeswomen of the region.