[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.  


Here’s how it went down:



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

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: National Association of Letter Carriers

From the AFL-CIO

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the National Association of Letter Carriers.

Name of Union: National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC)

Mission: To unite fraternally all city letter carriers employed by the U.S. Postal Service for their mutual benefit; to obtain and secure rights as employees of the USPS and to strive at all times to promote the safety and the welfare of every member; to strive for the constant improvement of the Postal Service; and for other purposes. NALC is a single-craft union and is the sole collective-bargaining agent for city letter carriers.

Current Leadership of Union: Fredric V. Rolando serves as president of NALC, after being sworn in as the union's 18th president in 2009. Rolando began his career as a letter carrier in 1978 in South Miami before moving to Sarasota in 1984. He was elected president of Branch 2148 in 1988 and served in that role until 1999. In the ensuing years, he worked in various roles for NALC before winning his election as a national officer in 2002, when he was elected director of city delivery. In 2006, he won election as executive vice president. Rolando was re-elected as NALC president in 2010, 2014 and 2018.

Brian Renfroe serves as executive vice president, Lew Drass as vice president, Nicole Rhine as secretary-treasurer, Paul Barner as assistant secretary-treasurer, Christopher Jackson as director of city delivery, Manuel L. Peralta Jr. as director of safety and health, Dan Toth as director of retired members, Stephanie Stewart as director of the Health Benefit Plan and James W. “Jim” Yates as director of life insurance.

Number of Members: 291,000 active and retired letter carriers.

Members Work As: City letter carriers.

Industries Represented: The United States Postal Service.

History: In 1794, the first letter carriers were appointed by Congress as the implementation of the new U.S. Constitution was being put into effect. By the time of the Civil War, free delivery of city mail was established and letter carriers successfully concluded a campaign for the eight-hour workday in 1888. The next year, letter carriers came together in Milwaukee and the National Association of Letter Carriers was formed.

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There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work