I would like to introduce myself; my name is Greg Ferretti and I have been a resident of Gloucester County for 53 years. I reside in Deptford, NJ with my wife Lori and my two children Vincent and Ginamarie.
I am a Union Ironworker from Local #399 out of South Jersey. As an Ironworker I have worked in most towns in New Jersey and many projects in Philadelphia as well. My children went to school here and are now in college. This was possible for my family due to the standard of area wages.
In the past 10 years however, I have seen the face of local construction change dramatically. We far too often see local projects being completed with no local contractors and no local labor working on the projects. This does not help our local community and drives down local wages.
As a resident of South Jersey and a Union Ironworker this is very concerning. We bargain for area standard wages and ensure that local members have good benefits and a retirement account. Whether a contractor is union or not these standards should be there and contractors should be local when possible. This is typically not the case, out of state contractors severely undercut these wages, benefits, and safety standards we enforce locally.
This is very evident currently in Logan Township on Route 322, from the Commodore Barry Bridge to Kingsway High School. The warehouse industry work is exploding in this area and all over our towns.
As a young Ironworker I worked on many projects in Pureland Industrial Park. It is sad to say that today there are no local contractors on many of these projects for the Ironworker and many other trades are facing the same battle. These workers are coming in from as far south as Florida and as far west as Nebraska. Most are not citizens, and most do not even have working papers.
Owners, Developers, General Contractors, and out of state subcontractors are exploiting these workers and the NJ taxpayer is getting left out. I know this firsthand, having posted a referral complaint with the NJ DOL for potential wage violations by a subcontractor for the project on in Woolwich Township.
This is happening all over our State. No taxes are paid here, not stimulating our local economy at all.
Many local construction workers in Gloucester County and Logan Township would love to be on these projects and they are not. You will see license plates from numerous other states. As a resident of Gloucester County, I ask that our local politicians and neighbors stand up for our residents’ jobs. We are the coaches, voters, teachers, daughters, and sons of our towns. Let’s keep NJ jobs here and not send our money to other States.
As a member of my Union I have participated in local trade school seminars, career days, and high school programs, teaching our youth about the trades. College isn’t for everyone, and local trades pick up those young adults looking for a career.
Recently my local union was asked to fix the goals for Logan Twp. Soccer, and we agreed and volunteered without hesitation. Try that with the contractors doing most of the work on 322. The contractors working here are not giving back to our communities.
If we continue to undermine this workforce with out of state contractors and low wages, we will be damaging our local youth’s opportunity for a livable wage in our own backyards. It is NOT right what is going on!
Greg Ferretti, Deptford Twp., NJ
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