Echoing the same sentiment expressed by Ohio Gov. John Kasich that out-of-state workers are considered "foreigners" (see OH Gov. Kasich Continues Trash Talk Out-of-State Workers), a grassroots group in Ohio has formed to "protect" Ohio workers and lobby and "hold energy companies accountable" for hiring more Ohioans for Utica Shale oil and gas drilling jobs. The group, called Protecting Ohio Workers, Employing Residents (or POWER for short), issued the following press release on Wednesday:
While a total of 23 energy companies drilled nearly 670 miles of natural gas and oil wells throughout the shale-rich lands of Ohio in 2012, only one organization was created to act as a watchdog for local employment practices on these projects: Protecting Ohio Workers, Employing Residents (P.O.W.E.R.).
At its core, the grassroots effort of the concerned Ohio citizens that make up P.O.W.E.R. seeks to hold energy companies accountable for the promises they made on local job creation when they stated their intentions to bring their operations to the Utica/Point Pleasant and Marcellus shale formations of Eastern Ohio.
As companies from across the country extract precious natural gas and oil resources from Ohio lands, the tremendous employment opportunities available on local shale development construction projects are not being made available to the skilled and qualified workers of Ohio. With an abundance of natural resources beneath Ohio’s lands, it is not only the energy industry’s benefit but also their duty to employ the residents living above these resources.
While shale gas extraction may be new to the state, the work required to transport and process the gas through constructing processing plants, building compressor stations and laying pipeline has been performed by Ohioans for the past century. Therefore, very few “specialized,” out-of-state workers are necessary to complete these jobs, although the current hiring practices of industry executives suggest otherwise.The need to build more of these midstream facilities necessary to move resources to chemical plants and other end users would create plentiful job opportunities for locals seeking employment in a recovering economy.
P.O.W.E.R. is waging a statewide campaign to inform Ohio citizens about local shale industry, as well as related projects that are awarded to out-of-state outfits that do not employ local workers. Concerned citizens can use P.O.W.E.R.’s informational and regularly updated website – ohioshaleohiojobs.org – in addition to a dedicated YouTube channel and other social media as a tool to connect with energy companies and elected officials and voice the importance of hiring within the community.
P.O.W.E.R. actively calls on the citizens of Ohio to let these out-of-state energy companies know that Ohio shale should create Ohio jobs.*
P.O.W.E.R./Akron Beacon Journal (Apr 10, 2013) – Ohio Shale Should Create Ohio Jobs