·  USW

USW Supports U.S. Rep. Rahall Buy America Bill Called the 'Invest in American Jobs Act of 2011'

Advocates Strong Buy America Standards for Infrastructure Projects

Contact:   Gary Hubbard, 202-778-4384; 202-256-8125; ghubbard@usw.org
Washington, D.C. (Dec. 1) –  Stan Johnson, International Secretary-Treasurer of the United Steelworkers (USW), today joined introduction of a major bill, the ‘Invest in American Jobs Act of 2011’ (H.R. 3533), with Congressman Nick J. Rahall (D-WV), the ranking member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, other ranking Democrats and AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler.

“We all share the same goal to grow manufacturing here at home,” Johnson said at the legislative introduction event, and the strong Buy America requirements of this bill make certain that taxpayer dollars are spent on iron, steel and manufactured goods made in America by American workers.”

At the podium in the roll out of H.R. 3533 is U.S. Rep. Timothy H. Bishop (D-NY), ranking member of the Subcommittee on Water Resources, while other ranking members of infrastructure committees and speakers await their turn. From the right (foreground) are: Rep. Nick J. Rahall (D-WV); Stan Johnson, USW International Secretary-Treasurer; Rep. Grace F. Napolitano (D-CA); Corrine Brown (D-FL); Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC); Daniel Lipinski (D-IL); Rep. Peter A. DeFaxio (D-OR); Liz Schuler, AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer; and Chandra Brown, President of United Streetcar Co.

The USW Secretary-Treasurer cited a study sponsored by the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) that showed for every $1 billion invested in the nation’s infrastructure, it creates or maintains 18,000 jobs. “When you add in strong Buy America requirements, the job number expands by 33 percent.”

He said, “We are in a job crisis and we need to use our taxpayer dollars wisely to create as many useful jobs as possible, including good manufacturing jobs that the American public will support as the best engine for economic growth. This bill introduced by Rep. Rahall does just that.”

USW President Leo W. Gerard added his own voice to the bill, saying the major impetus for stronger Buy America requirements was the San Francisco-to-Oakland Bay Bridge now under construction. He said the bridge has 43,000 tons of steel ‘Made in China.’

“California was penny wise and pound foolish to not accept federal funding to avoid Buy America,” Gerard declared. “The ongoing results of the Bay Bridge construction have been disastrous with multi-year delays, huge cost overruns, poor quality and now inspection fraud charges covering up the whole multi-billion dollar mess.  This bill introduced today encourages support of American manufacturing and promotes family supportive American jobs.”

The Invest in American Jobs Act (H.R. 3533) strengthens existing Buy America requirements for investments in highway, bridge, public transit, rail, water systems, and aviation infrastructure equipment. It also applies Buy America requirements to investments in rail infrastructure grants, loans, and loan guarantees, clean water state revolving fund grants and Economic Development Administration (EDA) grants.

The bill incrementally increases the percentage of U.S. components in rolling stock -- buses, rail cars, and prototypes – and aviation equipment such as runway lighting systems and navigational radio beacons from 60 percent under current law, to upwards of 100 percent by fiscal year 2016.

U.S. Rep. Nick J. Rahall (D-WV) shows photo of China built San Francisco Bay Bridge at press event on his Buy America bill introduction.

The USW represents 850,000 members employed in metals, mining, rubber, plastics, paper and forestry, glass, chemicals, auto parts manufacturing, and consumer products. A bill summary and a detailed letter by USW President Gerard to Rep. Rahall in support of the bill are at:  www.usw.org/.

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