Something Huge is Missing in President Trump’s Infrastructure Proposal

Elizabeth Brotherton-Bunch

Elizabeth Brotherton-Bunch Digital Media Director, Alliance for American Manufacturing

It's not exactly a stretch to say there aren't many issues that have potential for bipartisanship these days. But after President Trump took office in January 2017, there was one that seemed to unite Washington: Infrastructure.

The Donald made infrastructure investment a key part of his presidential campaign platform, famously pledging to spend $1 trillion to rebuild and repair America's roads, bridges, railways, ports, airports, and water systems. Notably, Trump also said he would make sure our infrastructure would be built in the United States — the policy behind the first part of his infamous "Buy American, Hire American" slogan.

And despite everything else going on, Trump found strong support for Buy America on both sides of the aisle, including from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). We even made a video about it!   

Oh, what a difference a year makes.

On Monday, the White House finally unveiled its infrastructure plan. Already, there's been a lot of analysis about the document. Some people like it. Some are skeptical. Others hate it.

But here at the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM), we are mostly confused. After years of rhetoric from the president that promoted the idea, Buy America is nowhere to be seen in the proposal.

This is disappointing, to say the least. Buy America is commonsense policy that ensures that American workers and companies are given the first shot at the government procurement contracts to build infrastructure — meaning taxpayer dollars are reinvested in our communities rather than sent overseas. As AAM President Scott Paul explains:

"American workers are eager to supply the steel and other materials that form the spine of our nation's infrastructure. They deserve a policy that explicitly supports and expands Buy America." 

But hey, you don't have to take our word for it — one only needs to look to the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge to see what happens when infrastructure work is outsourced. Then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and his team made the call to use China-made steel to build that bridge. The project was plagued from the start; the decision to send the work overseas led to significant delays, cost overruns and lingering safety concerns

Meanwhile, the recently opened Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge (formerly the Tappan Zee Bridge) was rebuilt according to Buy America preferences, and came in on time and on budget. It's now considered a model project for others to follow.  

The good news is that the document released by the White House on Monday is just a proposal — there's still time to get this right. Senate Democrats (and Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders) urged Trump to include Buy America in his infrastructure plan, and House Democrats made sure to put it into their own proposal.

If there is indeed any substantive action on infrastructure in 2018, we encourage the White House to work with Congress to come up with a robust investment plan that includes Buy America.

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Reposted from AAM

Posted In: Allied Approaches, From Alliance for American Manufacturing

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