[Insert Your Infrastructure Week Joke Here]

Elizabeth Brotherton-Bunch

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

Three weeks ago, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) traveled to the White House to talk infrastructure with President Trump. It went surprisingly well, and the trio met again on Wednesday to hash out ways to fund a $2 trillion bipartisan plan. Yay!

So... Trump angrily stormed out of the meeting on Wednesday, saying he wouldn't work with Democrats until they “get these phony investigations over with.”

And Pelosi responded that she’s now “praying” for him.  

LOL INFRASTRUCTURE WEEK AMIRITE?!?

Here’s how it went down:

 

Welp.

Trump is clearly playing politics, hitting back at Democrats for their ongoing investigations into him and his administration (and growing momentum to impeach him).

But there might be another reason why Trump decided to blow up the infrastructure meeting — he doesn’t want to have an internal fight with his own party. After all, Congressional Republicans have balked at the $2 trillion price tag of the plan, and Trump’s own chief of staff told people that it would be difficult to pass “any infrastructure bill in this environment, let alone a $2 trillion one.”

And signs that momentum was fading were there on Tuesday, when Trump said he would only work on infrastructure after Congress approves the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement(USMCA), which is likely to be a significant undertaking and is by no means a guarantee. Pelosi and Schumer responded to that threat by staying on message, releasing a statement outlining their priorities for infrastructure. 

And while Trump headed to the White House Rose Garden after the botched meeting to give an angry speech, Democrats still stuck to the infrastructure message in a press conference they held back at the Capitol, claiming that they went to the White House completely serious and ready to talk — Schumer pointed out they even brought along an infrastructure plan!

Pelosi’s remark that she’s praying for Trump got the attention, but the Speaker made a point to evoke historical infrastructure leaders like Thomas Jefferson and Teddy Roosevelt and how Democrats “had hoped we could give this president an opportunity to have a signature infrastructure initiative to create jobs, to improve the quality of life, to just do so much for our country.”

While Wednesday's political theater might have been entertaining, it’s looking to be unlikely that we’ll see an infrastructure investment deal this year, let alone the ambitious $2 trillion package agreed upon by the president and Congressional Democrats just three weeks ago.

Once again, politics has taken over. 

Trump is claiming he can't work with the Democrats until they drop their investigations; Democrats claim they are ready to get infrastructure done but can't because the president “threw a temper tantrum and walked out of the meeting,” as Schumer put it.

Go ahead, make your Infrastructure Week joke!

But the breakdown in talks is bad for all of us. As we’ve pointed out many times, this is an issue that isn’t going away. The quality of America’s bridges and water systems and roads and public transit and airports and sea ports and freight rail and passenger rail and electric grid and more continues to decline, earning a D+ rating from the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Our failing infrastructure is making America less competitive — and it’s also becoming a public safety risk.

Infrastructure investment will make America more competitive on the global stage. It will provide a huge boost to the economy. It will create millions of good-paying jobs — and even more if Buy America preferences are applied.

Business knows this needs to get done. Labor knows this needs to get done. Americans across the political spectrum and demographics know this needs to get done.

It’s time to get this done.

Posted In: Allied Approaches, From Alliance for American Manufacturing

Union Matters

Members of Local 7798 achieve major goal with workplace violence policy

From the USW

Workers at Copper Country Mental Health Services in Houghton, Mich., obtained wage increases and pension improvements in their contract ratified earlier this year, but the benefit Local 7798 members were most proud of bargaining was language regarding workplace violence.

The contract committed the employer to appoint a committee, including two members of the local, to draft a workplace violence policy. Work quickly began on the policy, and just last week, the committee drafted and released its first clinical guideline focusing on responding to consumer aggression toward staff.

“We are so excited to have this go into effect,” said Unit Chair Rachelle Rodriguez of Local 7798. “This was a direct result of our last negotiating session.”

The guideline includes the definition of aggression and an outline of procedures, all of which will be reviewed yearly. And though this is just a first step in reducing the incident rates and harm of workplace violence in their workplace, it still is a big one for the local, and it wouldn’t have been possible without a collective bargaining agreement.

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There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work