Every Week Should Be Infrastructure Week
During the 7th annual Infrastructure Week on May 13-20th, brothers and sisters of the North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU) stood together with U.S. House of Representatives on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., to push for the $2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure plan that includes investments in building public schools, hospitals, roads, bridges, transit projects, and more.
U.S. Representatives Donald Norcross (D-NJ), Brendan Boyle (D-PA), and David McKinley (R-WV) spoke alongside NABTU President Sean McGarvey and many other union leaders.
“There has been talk about infrastructure investments in Washington, without real, agreed-upon actions to build,” said Congressman Norcross, who pointed out that the work of the Building Trades Caucus is to invest our greatest resource: the American worker. “There is no better way to lift up workers boost our economy and make our communities safer than building for our future.”
The Congressional Building Trades Caucus, started by Congressmen Norcross and McKinley in March 2016, aims to bring Members of Congress together from both sides of the aisle. Both Representatives have a background in construction. Norcross was a trained electrician and McKinley previously worked on construction sites as an engineer.
“I understand how America’s construction and building trades helped build this great country,” said Congressman McKinley. “In March, we had more than seven million job openings; 30% of those were construction related. Without adequate funding and a trained workforce, our infrastructure will continue to crumble.”
NABTU President Sean McGarvey expressed solidarity with the Building Trades Caucus as well as the members of Congress, “All of us know that the time for bipartisan action is now. Today’s event showed there is the political will and bipartisan support to do it.”
BAC stands in solidarity with brothers and sisters of NABTU, the Building Trades Caucus, and the members of Congress in addressing the outdated infrastructure crisis throughout the country.
Public schools are public infrastructure. Over 100,000 public schools throughout the nation are on average 44 years old. As BAC President James Boland stated in supporting the Rebuild America’s Schools Act, “It is critically important that we rebuild our crumbling school facilities now so that our students are able to attend schools that are conducive to learning and that our teachers can do their important work in safe and healthy environment. And when we rebuild our schools, we must rebuild them with our skilled trades workers.”
This year’s Infrastructure Week have ended on May 20th, but our work to advocate for rebuilding our future must continue. According to the U.S. Department of Education, there will be 68% more job openings in infrastructure-related fields than there are people training to fill them in the next five years. We must also invest in our apprenticeship and training programs, helping more people learn about the building trades and encouraging them to join the skilled workforce. Every week should be Infrastructure Week.