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Out-of-state workers soaking up dredging jobs?

DECATUR -- Dredging Lake Decatur means new jobs for the area, but some union workers aren't happy with who's getting those jobs.
DECATUR -- Dredging Lake Decatur means new jobs for the area, but some union workers aren't happy with who's getting those jobs. WCIA-3's Kelsey Gibbs explains.

"It's going on with out-of-state workers is the problem."

The Lake Decatur Dredging Project was supposed to bring hundreds of jobs to a struggling economy.

"We are fully expecting our contractors to be able to do lots of local hiring during the term of the contract."

Mike Zahn, with the International Union of Operating Engineers, says that's not true.

"At least right now, ten of the current twelve employees that report there everyday, have out-of-state license plates."

The dredging project is in its first phase of construction and Zahn says many of his union workers were turned away.

"They're using that as an excuse not to hire local people, that they're not qualified people."

Before construction began, Great Lakes Dredge and Dock was hired by the city. It promised to hire a majority of local workers.

"You would think, when they're spending $90 million of taxpayers' money in Decatur they would assure that Decatur people are getting the jobs."

Zahn says he's disappointed with the city and the contract.

"It's simply, they want to bring in their people from Michigan, just like we warned the city council they would do."

The project began in February and should be completed by December 2019. The International Union of Operating Engineers will go before the Decatur City Council Monday. Members will demand more local workers be hired for the project.
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