Steve Masterson is not a very happy man these days.
Masterson, vice president of his local plumbers and pipefitters union, is used to putting his membership to work. The Atlantic Coast Pipeline carried a promise of thousands of jobs for union workers just like Masterson’s unit.
But the delays on the ACP are putting workers like Masterson and his fellow union members on the line.
“We’re having issue right now getting people out to work,” Masterson said. “We spend a lot of time and money training them.”
Masterson said that time and money could well go to waste if work on the pipeline doesn’t resume soon.
“Certifications only last for a certain amount of time,” Masterson said. If workers don’t work for long enough, they must be re-certified.
“It’s a long, costly process,” he said. “They work so hard to get a certification, and they’re just railroaded, stopped dead in their tracks. It’s disheartening.’
The pipeline delays have put Masterson’s union members in a quandary.
“Do I wait, do I go off somewhere else and hope I can find a good-paying job somewhere else?” Masterson asked. “When a job has been shut down, delayed, what do you do there? You turn around. You go home. Without a paycheck.
“It feels like wasted time,” Masterson said. “That hurts families here. If you’re not making money, how are you putting food on the table for your children?”
For those who have been counting on the pipeline—construction workers, families, communities and local governments—the delays are not just abstract. They are putting real people on the line.
“These are people you know,” Masterson said. “Not just people you hear about on the news.”
Masterson wants the delays to end so his union members can go back to work.
“There’s a lot of pride involved in all of this,” he said. “Let us do our work and prove it to you.
“That’s what we do.”