CADEMO’s Labor Agreement with California Building Trades Sets Standard for State’s Offshore Wind Industry

Mikael telling to building trades

Setting a new path for the floating offshore wind industry, CADEMO has reached agreement with California’s labor unions to build and operate the state’s first offshore wind project with a union workforce.

Under the agreement, announced earlier this month, the CADEMO project off California’s Central Coast will partner with the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California.  The agreement covers all of CADEMO’s contractors and subcontractors that will perform construction, assembly, installation, and maintenance on the four-turbine, 60 MW project in state waters off Vandenberg Space Force Base in Santa Barbara County. CADEMO is currently in the state’s environmental review process and is expected to start operations in 2027. This means CADEMO will be completed years before any of the projects resulting from the Dec. 6 federal auction of ocean areas for floating wind projects offshore California.

Mikael Jakobsson, Director at CADEMO stated:  “We are proud to partner with California’s labor unions to lead the way for the floating offshore wind industry on the U.S. West Coast. CADEMO is a pathfinder project that sets a high standard for workforce and economic benefits to Californians, and for all floating offshore wind projects in the years to come.”

In its Final Sale Notice for the December auction, the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management required lease winners to make every reasonable effort to sign a PLA for construction of their projects. By coming years in advance of these lease projects, CADEMO’s PLA helps the industry de-risk and clarify its path forward for labor relations for all future floating wind projects offshore California.

Andrew Meredith, President of the State Building and Construction Trades Council, said:  “We expect this agreement to now become the standard bearer for every Project Labor Agreement for offshore wind in the state of California. That’s why we worked so hard to get this first agreement done. … We think it’s going to drive a whole new generation of opportunities for workers.”

Meredith emphasized that the PLA will benefit all construction crafts, including the Carpenters, plus related, non-construction unions such as the International Longshore Workers Union:  “This is an opportunity for us collectively to come together again as a construction trades movement and prove that we can build things that nobody thinks is possible.”

CADEMO already has pioneered best practices for the state’s offshore wind sector. Together with labor unions, other Central Coast organizations, and key industry partners like DEME, SBM Offshore and Saitec, it has received a three-year grant from the state’s Workforce Development Board to create a High Road Training Partnership for the industry statewide. CADEMO’s turbines also will host environmental monitoring and mitigation mechanisms to collect data and confirm best practices to protect birds, fish, and marine mammals in offshore wind operations.

By being first in the water and demonstrating innovative practices in labor, the environment, and supply chain development, CADEMO will help generate the knowledge and public acceptance that California needs to successfully grow the sector, as Jakobsson explained:  “This pilot project is a crucial step – obviously for our company but more so for the industry as a whole – before California takes the next step of putting hundreds of turbines farther offshore. The climate crisis demands that California develop offshore wind as a component of its strategy of getting to 100 percent clean energy. But this must be done in a way that is home-grown and produces local benefits, rather than just consisting of turnkey imports from abroad.”

The State Building and Construction Trades Council of California has 157 affiliated unions from 14 different construction craft unions, with 500,000 members statewide.