PITTSBURGH – The United Steelworkers (USW) today called the agreement that President Joe Biden announced yesterday with a bipartisan group of U.S. senators a positive step in what must be an ongoing process of rebuilding the nation’s crumbling infrastructure.
“Yesterday’s compromise gets us closer than ever to enacting a historic infrastructure program,” said USW International President Tom Conway. “After so many years of inaction from the White House, it is a welcome relief that the Biden administration is clearly committed to getting this done, but there is much more work to do before we can celebrate. This agreement is just one piece of what we hope will be a many-faceted approach to rebuilding our nation.”
Conway said the final plan must do more than just address the country’s crumbling roads and bridges, water systems and power grids. Congress must also enact legislation to ensure upgrades to the nation’s “human infrastructure” such as education, child care, health care and other essential services.
“Infrastructure is more than just iron pipes, steel beams and cement blocks,” he said. “It’s the teachers who educate our children and it’s the nurses who care for our aging parents. The final plans Congress approves must take a wider view of our national infrastructure than we have in the past so that we see lasting improvements in our quality of life for decades to come.”
The COVID-19 crisis should be a wake-up call for those in Congress who in the past have failed to look at infrastructure as a long-term, big-picture issue, Conway said.
“The pandemic made it clear that we must invest heavily both in restoring our nation’s manufacturing capacity and in keeping the American people safe,” he said. “That means making sure we never have to look overseas for essential goods. It means training new generations of workers so we have Americans ready to make the products we need. And it means supporting union organizing so that we make sure the jobs we create are the kinds of jobs that can support families and communities.”
The USW represents 850,000 men and women employed in metals, mining, pulp and paper, rubber, chemicals, glass, auto supply and the energy-producing industries, along with a growing number of workers in public sector and service occupations.
SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)