Building Facebook’s new data centers
When the world’s largest social network picked Rutherford County, North Carolina as the site of its newest data centers, Facebook turned to IBEW and its quality work and training to get the job done right.
Now, hundreds of construction jobs in struggling rural North Carolina are being created, and non-union electricians are finding new work and opportunity thanks to the union. Workers are earning a living wage and benefits in a county with a 13.7 percent unemployment rate, and the IBEW is winning new members grateful for the union difference.
“It feels real good that we have an opportunity to put these people to work,” says IBEW Local 238 business manager, Dusty Rhodes:
“This is an anti-union county, and we’re coming in, and we’re the good guys, finally. In North Carolina, we don’t have many chances to do something like this.”
Building Facebook’s new data centers will require every qualified electrician in the area – and then some. To help it meet the demand, IBEW formed an unusual partnership with the local Chamber of Commerce.
“They [the Chamber] have an interest in their people and their community going to work, and we have an interest in putting them to work,” says IBEW organizer, Matthew Ruff:
“We’re seeing a lot of people’s lives positively affected, and we’re allowing the community to do a lot for itself.”
What’s happening in Rutherford County with Facebook and IBEW is an example of how workers working together can build power and hope for each other and their community and still deliver the quality and value needed to power one of the world’s most successful, 21st-century corporations.