The Building & Construction Trades Council of Greater New York signed the first-ever project labor agreement for an offshore wind project with the developer in charge of constructing a wind hub at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal.

The South Brooklyn project, which is set to go under construction as soon as next week, will turn the Marine Terminal in Sunset Park into an offshore wind port for the staging and assembling the gargantuan parts for Empire Wind 1, a large-scale wind farm that’s going to be built miles off the coast of western Long Island. It’s the first of several large offshore wind projects coming down the pike in New York.

“The redevelopment of this port will create thousands of construction jobs and long term operations and maintenance jobs. Offshore wind and other climate change related projects are poised to revitalize New York City’s abundant waterfront resources,” said Chris Erikson, the business manager of Local 3 IBEW and BCTC chair member.

Equinor, the Norwegian energy developer in charge of building the port project, said that the project is expected to be able to provide first power by the end of 2026 and be completed by the end of 2027. For Equinor, it’s the first commitment to union labor in the U.S.

The project will turn the waterfront into the staging area and a substation to connect offshore wind power into the New York City grid. It is expected to create over 1,000 union construction jobs over at least the next 10 years during the construction of the offshore wind projects, with the substation continuing to employ a reduced workforce for the foreseeable future after that construction is completed.

The agreement will establish working standards, safety practices and equity in the construction of the terminal for union workers and apprentices in local New York communities. It also contains local hiring requirements that gives priority to union members who are Section 3 New York City Housing Authority residents, veterans and Sunset Park residents, and encourages subcontractors to be Minority- and Women-Owned Businesses or Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Businesses.

“The unions have been doing a really great job. That’s why this training facility is here training them to work in really a brand new industry. So that’s quite exciting,” said Molly Morris, president of Equinor Renewables Americas.

At the signing, U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer praised the agreement as a reflection of the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act is acting as a boon to both organized labor and the local New York City economy.

“We’d always thought there ought to be three legs to the stool environment, labor and helping poor communities that didn’t have much of a chance. And the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal really met all three of the legs of the stool,” he said.

Beyond the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal project, Schumer said that he expects more labor contracts to be inked in the future as the state continues the development of its Sunrise Wind project in Eastern Long Island, developed by energy companies Orsted and Eversource, as well as the Empire Wind 1 project. An Equinor spokesperson said that they have been working with the construction trades on a marine work union agreement for the Empire Wind 1 project to cover.

“The wind’s at our back now. So here is to sailing forward to more jobs, more clean energy, more helping people who need help,” Schumer said.

IBEW Local 3 Business Manager Chris Erikson, left, and Molly Morris, president of Equinor Renewable America, center, sign a labor agreement


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