Biden Celebrates Infrastructure Effort with Union Workers

President Joe Biden delivered a clear message to a crowd of USW members and other union workers in Pittsburgh on Oct. 20: The national infrastructure plan he signed a year ago is working, and will continue to provide good jobs for the next decade and beyond.

Biden spoke at the site of the Fern Hollow Bridge, which collapsed on Jan. 28, 2022, coincidentally on the same day as one of Biden’s previous visits to the Steel City. Thanks to federal funding, union workers are already in the process of rebuilding the bridge, the president said.

“But it never should have come to this,” Biden said, pointing out that, thanks to four years of inaction by the previous administration, the term “Infrastructure Week became a punchline.”

“Now,” he said, “we’re going to have ‘Infrastructure Decade.’”

The infrastructure and investment law, which the president signed last November, has already created 700,000 new jobs, and is providing funding for countless projects across the country that will improve the lives of all Americans, including new roads and bridges, schools, hospitals, airports, railways and delivery systems for water, energy and high-speed internet service.

Those projects also will provide jobs for USW members and security for their families, Biden said.

That was good news to Charlene Crawford, unit president for USW Local 6521 in Altoona, Pa., who, as she waited for Biden to speak, pointed out that union members must vote in the upcoming midterm elections to make sure the nation continues its progress.

“Our labor depends on this,” Crawford said of Biden’s job-creation and inflation-reduction efforts. “If we don’t vote, we stand a good chance of losing all of that.”

The “Made in America” provisions of the infrastructure law are particularly important to Paul Pelc, of USW Local 1917, who also attended Biden’s speech.

“Infrastructure is so important,” said Pelc, of Meadville, Pa. “It means more work for union workers.”

Biden said those new jobs, and the security that comes with them, are the building blocks of a new economy built on the middle class.

“This is only the beginning,” Biden said. “I’ve never been more optimistic about the future of this country.”

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