Time to Build America

From the AFL-CIO

America’s working people spoke loud and clear at the 2017 AFL-CIO Convention in St. Louis by demanding a massive infrastructure plan for a better, brighter and more prosperous future.

The right plan will create millions of good jobs, increase long-term growth, make America globally competitive, improve Americans’ quality of life and protect our health.

The payoff in economic growth that comes from every single dollar of federal money invested in America’s infrastructure is $2 because of increased competitiveness and productivity.

President Trump’s empty plan lacks the dollars needed to transform our aging and crumbling infrastructure into something capable of driving our economy forward for generations to come.


“President Trump has rightly noted the urgency and scale of America’s infrastructure crisis, and he has an opportunity to fix it,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “Unfortunately, today’s proposal relies more on accounting gimmicks and Wall Street investors than on a new federal commitment.”

The AFL-CIO and our affiliates will continue to work with Congress to craft legislation that achieves these goals in a bipartisan way.

If our nation’s leaders are serious about building America, they need to step up with trillions of dollars in new federal funding that supports America’s jobs, America’s resources and America’s workers.

And they need to do so while upholding high labor standards, good wages and safe worksites.

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Posted In: From AFL-CIO, Union Matters

Union Matters

Freight can’t wait

From the USW

From tumbledown bridges to decrepit roads and failing water systems, crumbling infrastructure undermines America’s safety and prosperity. In coming weeks, Union Matters will delve into this neglect and the urgent need for a rebuilding campaign that creates jobs, fuels economic growth and revitalizes communities.

A freight train hauling lumber and nylon manufacturing chemicals derailed, caught fire and caused a 108-year-old bridge to collapse in Tempe, Ariz., this week, in the second accident on the same bridge within a month.

The bridge was damaged after the first incident, according to Union Pacific railroad that owns the rail bridge, and re-opened two days later. 

The official cause of the derailments is still under investigation, but it remains clear that the failure to modernize and maintain America’s railroad infrastructure is dangerous. 

In 2019, 499 trains that derailed were found to have defective or broken track, roadbed or structures, according to the Federal Railroad Administration’s database of safety analysis.

While railroad workers’ unions have called for increased safety improvements, rail companies have also used technology and automation as an excuse to downsize their work forces.

For example, rail companies have implemented a cost-saving measure known as Precision Scheduled Railroading (PSR), which has resulted in mass layoffs and shoddy safety protocols. 

Though privately-owned railroads have spent significantly to upgrade large, Class I trains, regional Class II trains and local, short-line Class III trains that carry important goods for farmers and businesses still rely on state and local funds for improvements. 

But cash-strapped states struggle to adequately inspect new technologies and fund safety improvements, and repairing or replacing the aging track and rail bridges will require significant public investment.

A true infrastructure commitment will not only strengthen the country’s railroad networks and increase U.S. global economic competitiveness. It will also create millions of family-sustaining jobs needed to inspect, repair and manufacture new parts for mass transit systems, all while helping to prevent future disasters.

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There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work