Regions Southwest Virginia

Labor group announces second partnership with Virginia community colleges

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LIUNA,  the Laborers’ International Union of North America, said Monday that it has entered into a second agreement with the Virginia Community College System to train state residents for jobs related to a new pipeline project.

The agreement aims to put people to work on the Mountain Valley Pipeline project, which will distribute natural gas through pipelines running from West Virginia to Virginia. LIUNA said in a news release that as many as 2,400 skilled workers will be needed in Virginia for the project. Work is expected to begin this year and continue for about 18 months.

“Local residents will have the opportunity to learn skills leading to good construction careers,  and the region will benefit both economically and environmentally from the benefits of clean natural gas,” Dennis Martire, vice president and mid-Atlantic regional manager of LIUNA, said in a statement.

In January, the union and college system announced a partnership to train Virginia residents for similar jobs building the Atlantic Coast Pipeline energy project, a 600-mile project that will stretch from West Virginia through parts of Virginia and into eastern North Carolina.

Under the agreement between the union and the college system on the Mountain Valley pipeline,  at least a fourth of workers hired will live in the vicinity of the project, which will run from the West Virginia line through Southwest Virginia. The community college system will help identify potential workers and, in a joint venture with LIUNA, will assist in training them.  According to the union, the project will be built by contractors who have committed to a $20 hourly wage, a $45 per day per diem and free family health care.

Workers assigned to the project will include existing members of LIUNA Local 980, based in Roanoke, as well as new hires identified through the college system’s schools in the counties of Giles, Craig, Roanoke, Montgomery Franklin and Pittsylvania.  This area also includes the cities of Radford, Blacksburg, Christiansburg, Rocky Mount, Roanoke, Salem and Danville.

LIUNA’s mid-Atlantic Region includes more than 40,000 workers predominantly in the construction industry in Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, the District of Columbia, Virginia and North Carolina.

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