ND Unions Applaud Infrastructure Bill Passage
Tuesday, November 9, 2021
FARGO, N.D. -- Labor leaders said North Dakota is poised to benefit from a boost in federal infrastructure spending, after the public works package cleared its final Congressional hurdle.
Late last week, the House gave approval to a more than $1 trillion infrastructure bill.
The White House estimated North Dakota could receive around $2 billion for road and bridge repairs, and there is a possibility of $26 million to add more electric-vehicle (EV)
Jason Ehlert, president of North Dakota's Building Trades Unions, said their members work in all kinds of energy production, and would welcome advancing the network for EV's.
"That's gonna create more jobs, more opportunities, and ultimately just bolsters the market," Ehlert asserted.
He pointed out North Dakota unions also are excited about provisions to boost training in the trades, creating lasting pathways for those who enter the profession. But he said members remain worried about the lack of access to child care, while alluding to funding possibilities under Build Back Better, the broader spending package still being debated.
The unions argued lack of care access hurts families and their ability to work.
Landis Larson, president of the North Dakota AFL-CIO, said as for the infrastructure bill, there is also beefed-up enforcement when it comes to companies crossing legal boundaries to thwart union-organizing efforts.
"It's happened many times in many organizing campaigns," Larson recounted. "They fire some of the big movers and shakers, and if they do get found guilty, they just have to pay the lost wages."
Erick Brekke, president of the Northern Plains United Labor Council, said whether it's immediate job opportunities or enhanced training, the infrastructure bill sends a strong message.
"It allows us to have more jobs, but two, it also gets the word out there these are not just jobs, but great careers to get out there and everybody has a workplace shortage," Brekke noted.
Among the training provisions is an extension of apprenticeships to marginalized groups, including women and people of color. As for Build Back Better, the plan remains hung up in negotiations with some lawmakers saying it is too costly.
get more stories like this via email
A wave of new Arizona voters in the 2020 election changed the normally conservative state to one where progressive candidates and ideas have a fightin…
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to use federal funds for a project to help keep invasive carp out of the Great Lakes. It is proposing using …
As Pennsylvania continues to grow its solar-energy capacity, a new report found the roofs of big-box stores present a big opportunity to increase …
If Iowa wants to create healthier outcomes for its residents, advocates say there are steps policymakers can take right now to make it happen…
North Dakota has returned a significant portion of the rental assistance provided by the federal government in the pandemic, but groups working …
Nearly 1,200 Hoosiers are about to have some of their student-loan debt forgiven, as part of a multistate settlement with the student-loan-servicing …
After a defeat on Wednesday, Democrats in the U.S. Senate say they'll keep trying to pass voting-rights legislation, and one Wisconsin group wants …
Bridgeport is one of six U.S. cities selected for an 18-month project kicking off this month, to create more education and career opportunities for …