Alabama utility workers maintain they were turned away from helping with the Hurricane Sandy relief effort because they are non-union. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is still looking into the situation and stated during a press conference on Friday afternoon that his state is willing to take and all help, regardless of unionization status.
The non-union utility crew was reportedly on the way to the Hurricane Sandy disaster scene when they were told they could not help. Governor Christie stated the Alabama crew was given “bad information” and a union requirement does not exist. He also noted he has spoken with all the power companies involved with the relief effort. Christie also assured the public that if such a requirement was in place, he would use his power as governor to override the policy, according to The Blaze.
One Blaze source allegedly stated the claims that non-union utility workers were turned away from the devastation in New Jersey was not true and Governor Christie was looking into who spread such a rumor. A second source interviewed later in the afternoon maintained the claims by Alabama workers probably were true and that Governor Christie was working to fix the matter.
A release issued by the Decatur Utilities and shared by WAFF-TV reads:
“Decatur Utilities sent a 6-man crew to the northeast Wednesday, October 31, bound for Seaside Heights, New Jersey, to assist with power restoration. Communications with Seaside Heights was poor due to lack of cell phone service in the area. Upon arriving at a staging area in Virginia, crews were held in place pending clarification of documents received from IBEW that implied a requirement of our employees to agree to union affiliation while working in the New York and New Jersey areas. It was and remains our understanding that agreeing to those requirements was a condition of being allowed to work in those areas.”