We’re All Neighbors, Aren’t We?

What next? Should the governors of Ohio and West Virginia post guards on bridges across the Ohio River, with instructions to check the plans of motorists crossing into the other state? Those coming over to shop could be waved through. But those heading for jobs in the neighboring state would be turned back.

We don’t want any out-of-state workers, do we?

This is crazy.

Since the gas drilling boom began in our area, there has been lots of talk about hiring local men and women for the new jobs, instead of allowing companies to bring their own people from their own states.

To some extent, that’s proper. But it has gotten way, way out of hand.

Just last week members of two Laborers’ International Union locals, in Steubenville and Newcomerstown, gathered in Harrison County, Ohio, to protest at a gas pipeline construction project. “We’re trying to get local jobs for local people,” one union official explained.

The company they were protesting, Bruce Allen Inc., is located in Harrisville and Ripley, W.Va.

Apparently West Virginia is not local enough for the Ohio union officials. Let’s hope the folks around Harrisville and Ripley, where there also is gas activity, don’t start asking if there are Ohioans on any pipeline companies’ payrolls. Let’s also hope the many Ohio Valley companies with workers from both West Virginia and Ohio don’t establish “home-state only” job application policies.

And what happens, by the way, when Shell Chemical finishes its gigantic ethane cracker plant near Monaca, Pa. Will a sign be posted, “West Virginians and Ohioans need not apply”?

Again, seeking some gas industry jobs for local people – with a reasonable definition of “local” – makes sense. But some labor unions are taking the campaign too far, attempting to make enemies out of people from our two states who, for nearly a century and a half now, have thought of each other as neighbors.

Myer can be reached at: Myer@news-register.net.