CADIZ - Oil and gas drilling in Ohio's Utica and Marcellus shale formations is expected to create thousands of new jobs.
But members of the Laborers' International Union of North America contend a majority of those jobs are going to out-of-state companies.
Union members from LiUNA Steubenville Local 809 and Newcomerstown Local 134 gathered Tuesday morning at the Dominion East Ohio pipeline construction site in Stock Township, Harrison County, at the intersection of Wallace Road and U.S. Route 250 east of Cadiz. Group members said they were picketing because the company has hired West Virginia-based Bruce Allen Inc. to build a gas line that will service nearby gas wells in Harrison County.
"We're trying to get local jobs for local people," said Clint Powell, business manager for Local 809.
Chuck Penn, media relations manager of Dominion's Gas Transmission Division, said Dominion East Ohio has a long history of investing in Ohio.
"We have an excellent track record of investing in and supporting Ohio communities - and that record is continuing," Penn said. "For example, DEO is currently making a very significant capital investment of more than $200 million this year alone in Ohio on various infrastructure projects.
"This is one of the many projects that DEO awards every day through a competitive bidding process," Penn added. "This contract is for work on a gathering line project in Harrison County. Contracts are awarded based on the ability to perform, past performance and the ability to meet established guidelines and standards."
Penn also said his company employs more than 1,500 Ohioans.
About 40 laborers stood alongside a giant inflatable rat, waved at traffic and held signs that stated "Local construction jobs to local workers" and "Ohio shale, Ohio jobs." Union members were at the site for about four hours. In May, they conducted a similar protest at Chesapeake Energy well sites in Jefferson and Carroll counties.
"Pipeline construction is a job that can be done by local workers," said Powell. "There are companies and skilled workers in the area ready and willing to work for Dominion or any other company. ... We were promised that the gas boom would provide jobs for local workers and we are here representing our local people who are struggling to find work."