Flickr/Creative Commons: Western Area Power
Storm damage from Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico's power grid, leaving much of the island without electricity. Restoration work has already taken more than 6 months since the storm's Sept. 20 landfall, and it's expected to continue for months or even years. 

IBEW leaders on Tuesday urged the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to reverse course on a late-night deal that awarded a $200 million contract extension for power restoration work in Puerto Rico.

A notice of intent to award the massive contract to nonunion contractor Power Source, Inc., was filed at 8:15 p.m. on Friday, March 23, well after regular business hours, giving other contractors capable of doing the work until just Tuesday, March 27 to submit written responses to the Corps of Engineers.

“This is a ridiculous time frame to expect other contractors to turn around a detailed written response,” said IBEW Political and Legislative Affairs Department Director Austin Keyser. “The fact that the notice was issued so late on a Friday looks like a clear effort to escape attention.”

Keyser is encouraging members of Congress to speak out against the non-competitive bidding process immediately.

“There are clearly other contractors capable of doing this work – contractors who are committed to local hiring, apprenticeships and training and fair pay and collective bargaining rights,” he said. “Trying to ram through a contract of this size in the middle of the night doesn’t serve American taxpayers, Puerto Ricans or working families.”

Puerto Ricans, especially, deserve to have the best available contractor with the highest-skilled workforce rebuilding their infrastructure, Keyser said. “Nobody is well-served by a secretive process that cuts out qualified contractors from this important work.”

IBEW members are encouraged to call their members of Congress today to ask them to speak out against the backroom deal (Contract Award No. W912EP-18-C-0003).

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