On June 17, Utah contractor Associated Brigham Contractors, who goes by ABC Concrete, was awarded the concrete phase of the $2.7 billion Nucor steel mill in Mason County.
Two regional union contracts were in the running but unable to win the bid.
While the total dollar amount of the contract is unknown, sources say it represents more than two million hours of construction work. The contract includes 360,000 yards of concrete, with a project timeframe of 26 months, which will be completed in two phases.
The massive job loss for local construction workers has some questioning why huge amounts of state tax dollars are going into the job without any consideration of local hiring.
Legislation passed last year provides for $315 million in direct taxpayer funding. In addition, property and corporate income tax breaks will make Nucor the largest corporate recipient of taxpayer funds in history.
“Our state has given Nucor tax breaks and direct cash payments,” said Luke Begovich, Senior Council Representative of the Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters. “If taxpayers are footing the bill, why are local workers not getting the jobs?”
According to Begovich, the Carpenters had about one million hours’ worth of work on the concrete contract, the Laborers and Iron Workers about 500,000 hours each, and about 200,000 hours of work would have been available for Operating Engineers.
“This was no small job, and it is going to an out-of-state firm who has a track record of importing workers,” said Begovich.
The track record Begovich is referring to is the current $1.7 billion Nucor project in Brandenburg, Kentucky. ABC Concrete is currently at this project and is importing most of their workforce from outside the region, and perhaps outside of the country.
The possibility of imported construction workers was raised by Delegate Phil Diserio (D-Brooke) when the special legislative session was held last year to award Nucor millions.
“We are missing an opportunity To support local construction workers with this legislation,” commented Diserio during debate on the measure.