By Jessica Bowman – email
GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Out of state workers contracted through the Command Center to clean up beaches due to the oil spill said they're frustrated because they may no longer be able to work in Mississippi.
Alabama workers hired on by the Command Center said they will no longer be able to help clean up along the Mississippi shoreline and they said that's not fair.
One Alabama resident said, "We find out we're not able to work due to the fact we're not residents of the state of MIssissippi. I'm thinking now I need a green card to work in the country I live in. I'm not understanding that."
Another Alabama resident said, "Governor of Mississippi fixed it so no out of towners worked here whatsoever."
We logged on to Governor Barbour's web site, but did not see a press release Barbour issued stating only Mississippi residents could help with oil spill cleanup efforts. According to BP representative Marti Powers, officials in each state along the Gulf of Mexico are focusing on conducting local hiring. Mobile resident Lee Ward said he believed the Command Center may be working on doing a little re-arranging, not firing.
"They told us we wouldn't work for two days to two weeks and they would try and place us somewhere in our region," Ward said.
Out of state Command Center employees said they also have another issue on the table.
"They don't want to give us our license," Eric Brown said. "So we took a class, we didn't get paid for no reason, they didn't pay us for the class. We had to sit there on our own time."
Alabama resident Eric Brown is talking about the training class that was a mandatory requirement to sign the contract to work.
"They said we had to work 64 days, which is about two months before we could get our license or our certificate for the class," Brown said.
"I think it's wrong," said one Alabama resident who did not want to be identified. "First of all, we come over here to try and help clean up and you won't let us. And then you won't give us our certificate to let us go work."
Employees said the Command Center will not hand over the certificates until the number of hours required in the signed contracts is completed.
There are no official documents from Governor Barbour's office saying only Mississippi residents can help with the oil spill cleanup. However, BP officials say they want to try and hire within the state.
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