White House Strategizes Jobs Plan with IBEW
They laid out how the plan would create jobs for IBEW members & touted a national EV charging network
Last month, President Biden introduced the American Jobs Plan. This is an ambitious multi Trillion-dollar plan to rebuild the Country’s infrastructure and put Americans to work. Biden has been traveling across the country to sell the plan.
On Tuesday, the IBEW met with White House staff to discuss the American Jobs Plan. The virtual meeting included IBEW President Lonnie Stephenson, senior White House staff like Cedric Richmond who is the White House Director of Public Engagement, and over 950 rank and file IBEW members.
During the meeting, the White House laid out how the American Jobs Plan will help IBEW members. They focused on a few key areas including the build-out of a national electric vehicle charging network. This work is immensely important as major car companies like General Motors are promising to be fully electric in the next decade, but this won’t be possible without a national charging network. According to the White House, Biden hopes to build 500,000 charging stations on top of the 100,000 that are already built. These would need to be built and maintained by the IBEW and would provide tens of thousands of jobs over the next decade for the union. This has been a major priority for President Biden who even included it in his joint address to Congress.
The White House also highlighted enormous investments that they want to make in manufacturing and R&D. With all of these new technologies emerging, the United States has the ability to lead the way on manufacturing things like wind turbines or solar panels. Biden has previously stated that there is no reason why wind turbines can’t be built in Pittsburgh instead of Beijing, thus creating union jobs in the United States. As UCOMM previously reported, the Biden administration is hoping that a new offshore wind zone off the coast of New Jersey will create a manufacturing hub for wind turbines in Jersey.
The White House also talked to the IBEW about how they want to use the American Jobs Plan to double the number of registered apprentices that go through and graduate from these programs. This investment will create the next generation of skilled electrical workers and will create a new path for young people to skip college while still achieving a high-paying career with benefits.
During the meeting, IBEW Business Managers were able to raise concerns they had with the White House. One big area of concern was around the move to renewable energy sources. As Biden plans to achieve 100% of the energy being generated from renewable sources by 2035, many IBEW locals in power generation are rightfully concerned that this will lead to major job losses and to a power grid that doesn’t have enough energy to meet the demand. The White House responded by reassuring the union that they will have a just transition plan and that they want to transition workers in coal plants into working in solar, wind, and nuclear. They also said that they want to continue to invest in the communities that will be affected by these transitions so that job losses don’t occur or are minimized. The White House also touted its plan to use tax credits to create jobs and promised that new construction jobs will pay prevailing wages.
The details of the American Jobs Plan are being hashed out in Congress currently. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has set a July 4th deadline for the House to vote. The Senate is then expected to hold a vote on it, potentially using budget reconciliation so that it only needs to get 50 votes to pass.