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Tens of Thousands of Union Jobs Created Under Infrastructure Bill

Over $1 Trillion will be spent on upgrading roads, bridges, broadband, the grid & much more

Brian Young's picture
Nov 08, 2021

On Friday night, the House of Representatives passed President Biden’s infrastructure plan. The bill will provide $1 trillion in funding for so-called hard or traditional infrastructure projects like repaving roads and fixing bridges. For union members, it will also mean tens if not hundreds of thousands of jobs over the next five years on Davis-Bacon projects.

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will make some sorely needed investments in areas like roads, bridges, transit, rail, climate change mitigation, electric vehicles, clean drinking water, high-speed internet, resilient transmission lines, and more. The investments will be made over the next 10 years.

“Making once-in-a-generation investments in our country, this legislation ushers in a new era of worker-centric prosperity – one characterized by good, union jobs that will put millions to work modernizing our electric grid, repairing and expanding the vital transportation services we all rely on, and creating the reduced-carbon energy solutions that will power our economy well into the 21st century and beyond,” said IBEW President Lonnie Stephenson. “We commend President Biden’s leadership in addressing the climate crisis and encourage the Biden administration to continue supporting carbon-free nuclear energy. IBEW members also applaud the strong labor protections found in this legislation and will always push for the strongest labor standards possible across all infrastructure investments, including in the critical area of broadband expansion.”

Under this spending bill, IBEW members will play an integral role in helping to move American drivers off of gasoline-powered cars by building out a national infrastructure of electric vehicle charging stations. There will also be billions of dollars to fund IBEW members' work in upgrading the grid to make it more resilient to storms.

LIUNA members will also stand to see many of their members put to work thanks to the infrastructure bill. “The investment will put Laborers to work in every community, revitalize our nation’s economy, and open doors to the middle-class for hundreds of thousands of working men and women,” said LIUNA President Terry O’Sullivan. LIUNA is expected to work on numerous projects involving restoring roads and bridges, but also working on fixing our water systems, mass transit, and building out broadband.

The bill was passed with bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate. In the House vote, 12 Republicans decided to put the country over the party and support the important bill, while six members of the so-called Progressive Caucus voted against the bill.

“As it is now sent to the President‘s desk for signature, we commend committed leaders and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle who negotiated in good faith and delivered for the American people,” said North America’s Building Trades President Sean McGarvey. “We would also like to note our gratitude for Republicans who put the country first and joined with their colleagues in resisting threats and politics as usual by voting in the affirmative to tangibly strengthen the country we all love. The opportunities provided by this act will redound to the benefit of Americans from all walks of life, and NABTU is committed to making that a reality for those currently in and those seeking to enter the unionized construction industry.”

With the hard infrastructure bill, also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal, passed, Congress will now turn its attention to the Build Back Better Act. This bill would fund social infrastructure projects and some important projects to deal with major issues like climate change.

“The Build Back Better Act will knock down the barriers that have prevented so many workers, especially women and people of color, from finding high-quality sustainable jobs,” says AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler. “It will make quality child care and elder care available to relieve the burden families face in getting back to work. Investments in good, clean union energy jobs will help us fight climate change and protect our communities. Improvements to our immigration system will ease the burden for those who want to call America home. Wealthy individuals and corporations finally will pay their fair share in taxes. And for the first time, employers will be hit with real financial penalties for union-busting, making this the most significant advancement for the right to organize since the passage of the National Labor Relations Act in 1935.”

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