Letter from North America's Building Trades Unions President Sean McGarvey
Hello, Brothers and Sisters. A lot of recent misinformation passed around has downplayed the accomplishments of the Biden Administration and Congressional Democrats. With less than one week until Election Day, we’re setting the record straight to remind you of their landmark achievements over the last 18 months that are game changers for building trades members across the nation.
The first major piece of legislation passed by Congress and signed into law less than 100 days into President Biden’s term was the American Rescue Plan. It provided money to keep working families afloat, created a childcare tax credit that lowered the cost of this normally high expense for working families. The law funds the pensions of millions of building trades members for the next 50 plus years. Every Republican in the House and Senate voted against saving the multi-employer pension system, but thankfully the Democrats united, and President Biden signed a law that literally saved our pension plans.
Then, the long sought-after Bipartisan Infrastructure Law FINALLY invested in all of our nation’s critical infrastructure, from roads and bridges, to ports, airports, transit systems, rail, clean water and drinking water, and broadband, and expanded core labor standards. The $1.2 trillion in funding for infrastructure is robust, broad in scope, and meets the needs of our communities in ways that have only been talked about for decades, but never achieved until now. And it contains labor standards recognizing the importance of prevailing wage.
This summer’s passage of the CHIPS and Science Act will jumpstart a building boom of semiconductor manufacturing facilities across the country with over $52 billion of federal government construction funding that will create tens of thousands of construction jobs. These jobs will be paid a prevailing wage. This law will reinvigorate American manufacturing and strengthen domestic supply chains so that we no longer have to rely on foreign countries for high-tech products. We have already seen it in Ohio and Central NY, where billions of dollars’ worth of work has already been locked in to be performed under union agreements.
The Inflation Reduction Act will create millions of middle-class, family-sustaining jobs while making the necessary investments to combat climate change and drive competition in energy markets. And for the FIRST TIME EVER, this law includes the building trades core labor standards by requiring the use of registered apprentices and payment of prevailing wage on projects funded by $300 billion in federal clean energy tax credits.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, CHIPS and Science Act, and Inflation Reduction Act totals nearly $4 trillion in federal investment over the next 10 years. All of this money is committed to rebuilding America’s infrastructure. These laws will create hundreds of millions of job hours for union construction workers in states, counties and cities of all sizes regardless of their political swing.
On top of these historic laws, President Biden signed an Executive Order requiring all federal government owned construction projects costing $35 million or more to be built under a PLA.
Additionally, federal prevailing wage regulations have been restored. Led by former Boston Building Trades Council President and current US Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, the Biden Administration is strengthening federal prevailing wage regulations back to the original intent after being watered down for 40 plus years. Their actions will increase the wages of construction workers, both union and non-union across the nation.
FINALLY, the Biden Administration repealed IRAPs. Because you and your members went to the mat against IRAPs in recent years, one of the very first actions the Biden Administration took was to repeal IRAPs. The disastrous IRAP federal regulation would have devalued Registered Apprenticeship in construction and many other industries that use this workforce training model to create a highly skilled labor force and pathways to the middle class for working families. The Biden Administration’s actions safeguarded Registered Apprenticeship.