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CARROLL COUNTY -- Ohio workers say energy companies promised jobs as they moved into Carroll County and other parts of Eastern Ohio to develop the Utica Shale's oil and natural gas reserves.

So, where are they?

Instead, unions say the out-of-state companies, like Willbros, Inc., who has a job site near Mechanicstown, are using out-of-state workers.

"They don't have to bring them in from out-of-state when they are here already," said Jason Pitts, a welder with the Local Union 798. "You're looking at a pile of them right here."

Jason Pitts brought his young son, Henry, to stand in solidarity with his father and grandfather, and more than 100 pipeline workers who hoped they'd be working at this job site.

The job action rally collected workers from four building trades.
"My family, this, I'm third generation pipeliners. We live within 20 miles of right here," said Pitts, who has four kids.

Access Midstream hired Texas-based Willbros to build the first in a network of pipelines.

Nearly 600 workers work six days a week, but many of them are far from home. A spokesperson says about one in five are Ohioans.

"You'll see license plates from Oklahoma, Louisiana, Texas, from everywhere," said Jake Croston, a field representative for Labor Local 1015 out of Canton.

"They told us when they come here to take our oil and gas, that this was going to create Ohio jobs. And it's not," said Croston.

"We brought in some specialists, given that the Utica Shale is in its development infancy, to come to Ohio, and build up the skill sets of local hires as we expand our foothold in the area," said Matthew Hyman, the project manager with Willbros Construction.

Local hires say they already have those skills, and this one job could hire hundreds sitting out of work right now.

"We have people that's been doing this work for years," said Croston. "We have good, qualified people to do this work, and we're just not getting the opportunity to do it."

Hyman says in the future there will be more Ohio workers. In fact, on Thursday alone, they hired 15 Ohio workers.

"That's the goal. It's more cost-effective. It keeps more dollars in the area, it's a better way to develop the shale play," said Hyman.

"Our community, our land, our oil and gas, it should be our jobs," said Croston. "How many people have a son or a daughter, or nephew or a niece that can't get a job right now? All this work is going on right in their backyard and we got everybody from all across the country doing it instead of us? It's just not right."

The unions hope that this rally gets some attention, and some work on this nearly 37-mile pipeline.

Willbros says they are currently looking for welders, truck drivers, operators, laborers, foremen, supervisors, office staff and clerks with experience in the pipeline construction industry.

To be considered, you can send a resume to OhioansforHire@Willbros.com.

"Right now, our work force is about 20 percent Ohioans. Of course, our objective is to achieve 100 percent Ohioans," said Hyman, in a followupemail to Channel 3 News.

"[Seventy-five] percent of the subcontractors we use are from the Ohio River Valley."

Hyman says the company has an established business presence in Ohio and supports local communities by spending millions of dollars a month with vendors, equipment suppliers, hotels, restaurants and other stores.

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