CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — West Virginia labor union members and supporters were picketing all morning outside the U.S. Methanol plant in Institute. Union members say most of the 300 construction jobs at U.S. Methanol went to out-of-state workers, instead of West Virginians.
“Well if they hire West Virginia people that means they’re going to stimulate the economy here. We’re going to buy houses here. We’re going to buy cars here. People that come in from out of state is going to stay in campers. And then they are going to leave and take all the tax money with them. They’re not going to file any taxes here,” said Craig Mosteller, Plumber & Pipefitters Union Local 625.
U.S. Methanol sent us a statement saying, in part, quote; “, the company has utilized those in trade organizations and those who are not, and will continue this approach… U.S. Methanol has contractors that are both local and regional.”
And in the midst of a political campaign season, a number of candidates were out supporting West Virginia unions.
“There’s no reason a project like this can’t be using West Virginia jobs, West Virginia labor. So, I’m just here to support their demands,” said Cathy Kunkel, (D) Nominee for U.S. House WV-District 2.
“Well I’m just out here to support labor and really just trying to emphasize the need for West Virginia to get folks employed,” said Kathy Ferguson, (D) Nominee for House of Delegates – District 35.
In its statement, U.S. Methanol promises to communicate more, with the community, about its hiring practices as construction continues.
“Now if this was a public project such as road or bridge construction, it would be subject to the West Virginia Jobs Act. That requires that 75 percent of all workers be from West Virginia and neighboring states. But this is a private project and that law does not apply here,” said Mark Curtis, 13 News Chief Political Reporter.