Cheniere Energy’s Sabine Pass liquefied natural gas facility has just seen a massive setback, and its one the company may not have seen coming.
Welders along the Gulf Coast are in high demand, and as a result, Bechtel Corp, which is contracted by Cheniere in the facility’s construction, gave its welders a pay raise to keep up with competitive wages. As many as 1,200 pipefitters and electricians working at the site—all contracted employees—walked off the job on Friday when they heard about the boost in pay, according to 12News. Mixed reports say the raise could be anywhere from $3 to $5 per hour.
Employees reported gathering in a tent on-site Friday morning to be informed by management that the current shortage of welders had prompted the wage increases. However, the pipefitters and electricians were not included in raises. None of the workers are part of a union.
Those employees who refused to return to work, many of whom are from Texas, were then told by a police officer to get on buses which would take them back to the Lone Star State. They were given an ultimatum: leave the site or be fired. While many left, there were concerns of continued disgruntled behavior at the beginning of this week.
Bechtel’s public statement seems to disagree with reports given by various outlets. “Some 300 of them mounted a sit-down in the lunch tent on the site [Friday] morning,” the statement notes. “Bechtel site leadership talked to the employees, and after a short period of time the majority of employees returned to work.”