Sunoco hires half its pipeline workers locally

MECHANICSBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Sunoco Logistics promised to create hundreds of jobs for Pennsylvanians with its construction of the Mariner East 2 Pipeline.

The pipeline will carry natural gas from western Pennsylvania to refineries in Philadelphia, requiring 8,000 workers during the construction phase.

However, at construction sites in Cumberland County, ABC27 saw a lot of out-of-state license plates, questioning Sunoco’s promise to hire hundreds of Midstate workers.

ABC27 found out Sunoco made a deal with local and national unions, requiring half its pipeline workers be local hires.

“I believe a project like this is what’s it’s going to take to bring back manufacturing jobs in Pennsylvania and the entire country in general,” Ross Stephens at the Operating Engineer’s Union in Harrisburg said.

Stephens is thrilled 50 of his local union guys were the ones hired for Sunoco’s latest project.

“Fifty percent of the manpower comes from the local area,” Stephens said. “People from Carlisle, Harrisburg, York.”

According to Sunoco, that’s about 250 local hires for central Pennsylvania’s stretch of the pipeline.

Out-of-state workers are generally brought in to provide specialized skills on the work sites. But even that’s a plus for the local economy, according to economic officials.

“The individuals brought in to do some of the technical work are staying locally as well. So they’ll be in our hotels, campgrounds, whatever, so they will be also contributing to the economy as well locally,” George Book at the West Shore Chamber of Commerce said.

Sunoco’s promise comes in the form of a contract with the National Labor Union, which says that half its workers will come from local unions, as long as the unions can provide. So far, they’ve been able, and eager, to do so.

“If it weren’t for these pipeline jobs,” Stephens said. “That’s what allowed me to buy a house and support my family and raise my two sons. So it’s been very positive to myself and my family and many other people’s family.”

Once construction on the Lancaster and Lebanon county portion of the pipeline begins, half of those workers will also be hired locally, creating even more jobs in the Midstate.

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