Infrastructure Week Highlights the Need to Invest in the US

This week is Infrastructure Week, an annual event where an increasingly powerful coalition led by local, state and federal leaders, as well as both businesses and labor unions, demand massive and necessary investments to build America. This year’s Infrastructure Week comes at a time when 80% of voters say investing in America’s infrastructure is a top priority. America’s labor movement says the time to build is now.

 

In an op-ed, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka (UMWA) and Boston Mayor Martin Walsh said:

As unions, businesses, engineers and policy makers celebrate Infrastructure Week from May 14–21, we’re reflecting on the investments that add value to America. For every dollar a country spends on public infrastructure, it gets back nearly $3, according to a 2014 study from the International Monetary Fund.

Keep this in mind when you hear that the American Society of Civil Engineers, or ASCE, has called for $2 trillion to repair, renovate or replace water lines, public schools, bridges and mass transit systems. On top of that, another $2 trillion could make America the global leader in the infrastructure technologies of the future, such as high-speed rail and smart utilities.

That kind of serious infrastructure spending would create countless jobs in manufacturing. Enacting ironclad Buy America provisions would kick-start production in steel and other battered industries, putting millions of people to work and lifting wages. These broad economic benefits explain why year after year, the AFL-CIO joins with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to ask Congress to invest in America’s national infrastructure.

Laborers (LIUNA) General President Terry O'Sullivan also wrote about the importance of investing in our shared resources and shared future:

For too long there’s been too much talk, too little action and far too little investment in our country’s crumbling critical infrastructure. As a result our transportation systems are failing, our water resources are antiquated, our energy systems are out of date, and our nation’s ability to compete is hindered....

During Infrastructure Week, solutions will be highlighted, such as adjusting the federal gas tax and implementing a vehicle miles traveled fee to generate investment, as well as, state efforts to pump more investment into our transportation systems....

No one solution will be enough. What is a certain, though, is that it will take significant national investment to keep our bridges from continuing to deteriorate, better maintain our roads, and improve the reliability of our water.

Here are some of the most important areas where we need to invest in our infrastructure:

  • Bridges: As of the most recent data, 9.1% of bridges were structurally deficient and 14% were functionally obsolete. Motorists make 188 million trips a day on structurally deficient bridges. The repair backlog for bridges would cost $123 billion to get caught up.
  • Roads: Poor roads cost Americans $160 billion in lost time and wasted gas. Two in five urban interstate miles are congested, while one in five miles of pavement across the country is in poor condition.
  • Water: About 240,000 water mains break each year, leading to the waste of 2 trillion gallons of drinking water annually. It would take 200 years to replace needed pipes across the country at the current rate, a timeline well beyond the useful life of those pipes. Additionally, 2,170 dams in the United States are deficient, with dam failure a significant threat to lives and property.
  • Energy: Our power grid is at full capacity, and as demand grows, power outages become more likely. More than $177 billion is needed between now and 2025 to upgrade the grid. Data from the latest year available counted 3,571 electricity outages from aging infrastructure.

Learn more at Infrastructure Week or read about the AFL-CIO's commitment to investment in infrastructure.

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Reposted from AFL-CIO

Posted In: Allied Approaches, From AFL-CIO

Union Matters

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: National Association of Letter Carriers

From the AFL-CIO

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the National Association of Letter Carriers.

Name of Union: National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC)

Mission: To unite fraternally all city letter carriers employed by the U.S. Postal Service for their mutual benefit; to obtain and secure rights as employees of the USPS and to strive at all times to promote the safety and the welfare of every member; to strive for the constant improvement of the Postal Service; and for other purposes. NALC is a single-craft union and is the sole collective-bargaining agent for city letter carriers.

Current Leadership of Union: Fredric V. Rolando serves as president of NALC, after being sworn in as the union's 18th president in 2009. Rolando began his career as a letter carrier in 1978 in South Miami before moving to Sarasota in 1984. He was elected president of Branch 2148 in 1988 and served in that role until 1999. In the ensuing years, he worked in various roles for NALC before winning his election as a national officer in 2002, when he was elected director of city delivery. In 2006, he won election as executive vice president. Rolando was re-elected as NALC president in 2010, 2014 and 2018.

Brian Renfroe serves as executive vice president, Lew Drass as vice president, Nicole Rhine as secretary-treasurer, Paul Barner as assistant secretary-treasurer, Christopher Jackson as director of city delivery, Manuel L. Peralta Jr. as director of safety and health, Dan Toth as director of retired members, Stephanie Stewart as director of the Health Benefit Plan and James W. “Jim” Yates as director of life insurance.

Number of Members: 291,000 active and retired letter carriers.

Members Work As: City letter carriers.

Industries Represented: The United States Postal Service.

History: In 1794, the first letter carriers were appointed by Congress as the implementation of the new U.S. Constitution was being put into effect. By the time of the Civil War, free delivery of city mail was established and letter carriers successfully concluded a campaign for the eight-hour workday in 1888. The next year, letter carriers came together in Milwaukee and the National Association of Letter Carriers was formed.

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There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work