UPDATE: Mayor Jon Mitchell has released a statement on the picketing. The statement is as follows:

"In recent weeks, I’ve had multiple conversations with both the ILA and Vineyard Wind about their differences, and I believe considerable progress has been made. I am confident that the parties, including General Electric, will be able to arrive at a mutually beneficial solution that creates steady job opportunities for ILA members and allows the project to move forward."

NEW BEDFORD — After a long-awaited ship carrying turbine components for the country's first commercial-scale offshore wind farm arrived in New Bedford this week, officials celebrated — but now, some city union workers are picketing.

Members of the International Longshoremen's Association Local 1413 held signs and walked in front of the massive UHL Felicity docked at the Marine Commerce Terminal on Friday morning.

Local union president Kevin Rose said that the action was taken over concerns that the longshoremen are not being offered the number of full-time jobs that Vineyard Wind promised.

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New Bedford International Longshoremen's Association

According to Rose, 12 ILA members are currently working part-time positions on the Vineyard Wind project — but more than 100 other people are employed at the terminal full time.

Out of those workers, Rose told WBSM News, "[There's] nobody from New Bedford."

"Most of these people are from out of state," he noted. "They're not even from the community....we have no representation in the yard."

Rose said that a large majority of local union members are also people of color, which would help Vineyard Wind with its stated goal of hiring a diverse local workforce.

In July 2021, Vineyard Wind signed a Project Labor Agreement with the Southeastern Massachusetts Building Trades Council, promising to bring hundreds of jobs for union workers to New Bedford.

But the ILA wasn't part of the agreement — and Rose said they don't even have a contract for the part-time jobs the union members are currently working.

"We've been promised full-time jobs down here," he said, but "I don't have a contract with anyone in writing."

"All I have is word of mouth," he added. "I can't go by handshakes, I can't go by promises...I have to get signatures, I have to get contracts, and I have to get my members full time work."

Statement from Vineyard Wind

"Vineyard Wind is proud of our track record to build the nation's first large-scale offshore wind project with union labor," the group wrote in a statement to WBSM News.

"Just yesterday, we celebrated a major milestone with the delivery of the first tower components to the Marine Terminal, which ILA members helped unload."

To date, more than 300 union employees have worked on the Vineyard Wind project, according to the statement — which went on to note that there will be "many more to come."

"We will continue to find solutions with GE to help support union participation on our projects and remain confident that a compromise can be reached in New Bedford to support the ILA."

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