Protest held over school construction jobs

Published: Jul. 27, 2016 at 11:53 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

WAYNE COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Residents of one community are happy to be getting a new school built for their kids, but they're not so pleased with who's doing the construction.

Work is underway in Wayne County on a new Crum Pre-K-8 school.

Local resident Shane Dillon took to YouTube to voice his displeasure about who got the construction jobs.

A subcontractor from Roanoke, Virginia, was chosen for part of the project.

"Our people need groceries as much as these people from Roanoke," Dillon said.

In the video, one of the workers says he is from Honduras and that other workers are from Mexico.

Wednesday afternoon, local residents held a protest.

With the downturn in the coal industry, they say these jobs should've gone to people who live there.

"We have people around here qualified for the work that need the work," Dillon said. "It's a pretty depressed area. We need jobs."

Donald Gatewood is the vice president of Swope, the company that won the bid for the project.

"There are a lot of people uninformed or misinformed about the real facts," Gatewood said.

Gatewood says they're making no apologies for the group of workers they have on the project.

"We vet our subcontractors to make sure they're qualified," he said.

Gatewood says that YouTube video is misleading.

"It would be nice to have a project where you could only hire local people," Gatewood said, "but that gets into training programs and scheduling, and a lot more money to do it that way. It could be a lot more money to it that way, but that's not how the system is set up."

"There need to be laws changed to ensure local people are getting these jobs," Dillon said.

The Swope vice president says they have had employees from local counties working on that project, as well.

Swope has offices in Huntington, Charleston, and Bluefield.