Fluor Corp. of California has been granted the contract for the job, but Douglas said many smaller projects that are part of the job have not been bid and it is impossible to know who will win those contracts and complete the jobs.
Project would create estimated 250-300 new jobs
Robert Aiken of the trades council, the primary speaker at Thursday night's meeting at Lions Park Community Center, said before the meeting that the project will create an estimated 250-300 new jobs.
Construction workers will receive about $38 million in wages and benefits over the life of the project, expected to last at least two years. Other workers' projected wages will be about $15.3 million, the council estimated.
Aiken said he has written Fluor several times but gotten no reply. A letter to the governor's office resulted in a letter from Jim Zimmerman of the state Department of Labor referring him to TRS Solutions, a firm Aiken said is a temporary employment agency, also in California.
Aiken said Fluor is one of the largest construction companies in the world, and he put it in the same class as Haliburton and Bechtel.
"We're not dealing with a mom-and-pop store on the corner," he said.
KU and LG&E are regulated monopolies, and local residents have no choice about who provides them with electricity, telephone service and other utilities. The local workers are rate payers and taxpayers, he said.
Power company not represented at forum
No one from KU, LG&E or their parent company, E.ON U.S., attended Thursday's meeting. Scott Pulliam showed a slide presentation and said the trades council had tried to get work for Kentuckians on a job at the Trimble County plant and had been unsuccessful. He said 80 percent of the workers on the Trimble job were not from Kentucky.
Pulliam said that when companies import workers, they are sometimes undocumented workers. Whatever their origin, he said imported workers put stress on schools, law enforcement and health care systems. Having made an impact on local facilities, they take the money earned back to their home states and do not pay income tax and property taxes here.
The union is seeking a Project Labor Agreement for the Brown project, which Pulliam said KU will not accept. Other electric generating companies, including East Kentucky Power, and companies like Ford Motor Co. and UPS in Louisville have entered in to PLAs, which guarantee competitive bidding and working conditions.
Workers at the meeting were encouraged to call or write KU, call local radio stations, write to local newspapers, and talk to their state representatives to raise the issue with the public.
Rep. Milward Dedman, who represents the 55th District in the Kentucky House of Representatives, was present at the meeting and promised to look into the case.
Also present were Harrodsburg Mayor Lonnie Campbell and Magistrate Bill Waggener and Deputy Mercer County Judge-Executive Gayle Horn, who represented Mercer County Judge-Executive John Trisler, who could not attend.
Pulliam said KU claims the workers needed for the jobs are not here. "Not true," he said. "There are 16,000 workers in a 60-mile radius or within 60 minutes of the plant. If you don't have to import workers, why would you?"