Press Release

Coalition of Labor, Business, Industry Leaders Stand Together to Back Construction of the Great Lakes Tunnel

Coalition of Labor, Business, Industry Leaders Stand Together to Back Construction of the Great Lakes Tunnel

Coalition Members Filing Comments with Permitting Agencies in Support of Tunnel Construction, Great Lakes, Michigan Jobs

Lansing, Mich – To support construction of the Great Lakes Tunnel, an essential infrastructure project for Michigan’s economy and energy future, a unique coalition is working together to help ensure the project moves forward.

This summer, regulators and agencies are reviewing permit applications for the Great Lakes Tunnel, while state officials work on next steps to kickstart Michigan’s economy following the coronavirus pandemic, making the Great Lakes Tunnel project even more critical.

“More than 623,700 workers power Michigan’s manufacturing industry, and many of those jobs are directly tied to Line 5 and the Great Lakes Tunnel,” said John Walsh, President and CEO of the Michigan Manufacturers Association. “Safely building the Tunnel, burying Line 5 deep below the lakebed will protect the Great Lakes, and it’ll protect thousands of the state’s highest paying, most competitive jobs.”

Leading Michigan voices from labor, business and industry are speaking out together, encouraging state and federal agencies currently reviewing permit applications – and all Michiganders – to embrace the Tunnel project, and the lakes and jobs it protects.

“Michigan’s workers, our members, and their families take pride in their jobs and rely on Line 5 to deliver the energy to rebuild Michigan’s infrastructure,” said Lee Graham, executive director of Labor Management Education Committee for the Operating Engineers 324. “Building the Great Lakes Tunnel ensures that it continues delivering, and safer than ever.”

The coalition is led by a steering committee of 11 diverse organizations, including:

  • Michigan Manufacturers Association
  • Operating Engineers 324
  • Michigan Chamber of Commerce
  • Michigan Laborers Union
  • American Petroleum Institute
  • Lake Superior Community Partnership
  • Michigan Building and Construction Trades Council
  • Michigan Chemistry Council
  • Michigan Oil and Gas Association
  • Michigan Petroleum Association
  • Michigan Propane Gas Association

The Great Lakes Tunnel will replace a portion of Line 5, the pipeline that crosses the straits along the bottom of the lakebed connecting Michigan’s two peninsulas. The Line 5 pipeline safely delivers the fuel that homeowners and worksites count on to keep Michigan’s economy moving.

“More than 15,000 Michiganders working at over 400 companies in each of the state’s 83 counties represented by our organization are connected to the kinds of products that move safely through Line 5,” said Mark Griffin, president of the Michigan Petroleum Association. “The Great Lakes Tunnel is absolutely essential to keeping those products moving, keeping them affordable, and protecting good jobs, putting food on the table for Michigan families.”

Just before the beginning of the COVID-19 public health crisis, Enbridge announced the selection of Michigan contractors to handle its construction. Livonia-based Jay Dee Contractors, Inc. and the new Great Lakes Tunnel Constructors were selected to do the heavy lifting on the essential building project.

“Building and operating the Great Lakes Tunnel will require roughly 2 million manhours of labor – largely Michigan labor,” said Geno Alessandrini, Business Manager for the Michigan Laborers Union. “The solution is simple: support workers, protect our water, create good-paying jobs, and build the Great Lakes Tunnel.”

Said John Dulmes, Executive Director of the Michigan Chemistry Council: “Building the Great Lakes Tunnel will ensure that Line 5 continues to safely supply our state with essential raw materials, including energy and ingredients for products everyone uses in their daily lives. We’re asking permitting agencies to support construction of the Great Lakes Tunnel because it supports the more than 80,000 jobs in Michigan’s business of chemistry, and those jobs and those workers matter.”

To learn more about the coalition, the Great Lakes Tunnel project or to join the coalition, visit