NJ Turns Away Non-Union Utility Workers from Alabama

Update 11:00 AM: New reports are surfacing that Huntsville Utilities has denied being turned away, yet Decatur Utilities has been unavailable to comment.

New York and New Jersey have been hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy. Some people might not get electricity for another week or more. There aren’t enough utility workers to make the repairs. Utility workers from other states are donating their services to help.

Alabama Power Co. and electric cooperatives in Alabama have sent more than 1,000 workers to help in states damaged by Sandy.

Alabama Power reports that it already has 441 personnel in Atlantic City, and it has 80 others headed to New Jersey, West Virginia and Maryland. In addition, it has released 372 contract workers to help other utilities in the Mid-Atlantic states.

The Alabama Rural Electric Association says 16 cooperatives have sent 141 crew members to help restore power in Virginia and Maryland.

Now there are several stories that say the utility workers from Alabama were turned away from New Jersey because they did not belong to a union.

This is not an isolated story. Reports are coming in from other places where utility workers from non-union right-to-work states are being told to “stand down” because they don’t have union credentials.

“The crews that are in Roanoke, Virginia say they are just watching and waiting even though they originally received a call asking for help from Seaside Heights, New Jersey.”

Some crews have “already headed back home.”

Electric repair work for public utilities in New Jersey is dominated by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, a unit of the politically powerful AFL-CIO.

I wonder if the people in New Jersey are aware of this story. I bet they don’t care anything about a utility worker being unionized. All they want is their electricity back on.

By the way, the AFL-CIO, and unions in general, will be supporting Obama and the Democrats on Nov. 6. Vote accordingly.