The White House’s Infrastructure Plan Leaks!

Matthew McMullan

Matthew McMullan Communications Manager, Alliance for American Manufacturing

On Monday afternoon a (short) draft of the Trump administration’s plans for a federal infrastructure package leaked from the White House.

It’s important to remember, this is a draft. Only six pages long! The administration has reportedly been working on its plan for months, and the full thing is supposed to be, like, 70 pages. That makes it difficult to judge what was released on Monday in full.

Still, some have noticed some interesting inclusions and omissions.

Axios, for instance, saw that there isn’t any mention of a gas tax increase, which the White House had previously floated as a funding idea.

The Hill noted some of the financing mechanisms included put the bill at odds with the recent Republican tax code overhaul.

Here’s what we noticed: There’s no mention of Buy America procurement policies in there. Go look! Control-F it, and search for the term. They aren’t in there.

In fact, it appears to do the opposite of what Buy America rules are meant to do: According to this draft, the infrastructure plan would create loopholes so taxpayer-funded projects could be built with imported steel.

Needless to say, this flies in the face of what the president said on the campaign trail. Remember his big trade speech from the summer 2016?

If you don't want to watch the whole thing here’s what he says, starting at about the 32 minute mark:

A Trump administration will also ensure that we start using American steel for American infrastructure…It will be American steel that will fortify American's crumbling bridges…It will be American steel that rebuilds our inner cities…We are going to put American-produced steel back into the backbone of our country. This alone will create massive numbers of jobs. Then-presidential candidate Donald Trump

The Alliance for American Manufacturing expects the president to stick to those pledges, and we put that in writing to the president on Monday evening. In doing so, we joined a coalition of likeminded manufacturing associations that want to see the final infrastructure plan help turn Trump’s Buy America campaign rhetoric into reality.

We wrote:

The federal government should continue to have a robust role in funding infrastructure projects and any new initiatives seeking to shift the funding burden to the states or leverage private dollars should be matched with policies that put American manufacturers and their workers first.

Read the whole letter here.


Reposted from AAM

Posted In: Allied Approaches, From Alliance for American Manufacturing

Union Matters

Uber Drivers Deserve Legal Rights and Protections

By Kathleen Mackey
USW Intern

In an advisory memo released May 14, the U.S. labor board general counsel’s office stated that Uber drivers are not employees for the purposes of federal labor laws.

Their stance holds that workers for companies like Uber are not included in federal protections for workplace organizing activities, which means the labor board is effectively denying Uber drivers the benefits of forming or joining unions.

Simply stating that Uber drivers are just gig workers does not suddenly undo the unjust working conditions that all workers potentially face, such as wage theft, dangerous working conditions and  job insecurity. These challenges are ever-present, only now Uber drivers are facing them without the protection or resources they deserve. 

The labor board’s May statement even seems to contradict an Obama-era National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruling that couriers for Postmates, a job very similar to Uber drivers’, are legal employees.

However, the Department of Labor has now stated that such gig workers are simply independent contractors, meaning that they are not entitled to minimum wages or overtime pay.

While being unable to unionize limits these workers’ ability to fight for improved pay and working conditions, independent contractors can still make strides forward by organizing, explained executive director of New York Taxi Workers Alliance Bhairavi Desai.

“We can’t depend solely on the law or the courts to stop worker exploitation. We can only rely on the steadfast militancy of workers who are rising up everywhere,” Desai said in a statement. 

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