Saturday, March 25, 2017

President's Keystone Decision 'An Important Step,' Says API's Jack Gerard

Reversing a controversial 2016 decision by his predecessor, President Donald Trump approved TransCanada Corp’s Keystone XL pipeline in an announcement March 24, calling it “a great day for jobs and energy independence.”

Sean McGarvey, president of North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU) was present at the White House for the announcement of the presidential permit.

The president had campaigned on a promise to approve the pipeline, and he followed through with an executive order to that effect in January.

The pipeline will bring more than 800,000 barrels per day of crude oil from Alberta in Canada into Nebraska.

Jack Gerard, president of the American Petroleum Institute, said the president’s decision was welcome and would strengthen America’s energy security. The Canadian government, long a supporter of the pipeline project, expressed its endorsement of President Trump’s decision as well.

The decision is likely to face legal challenges by opponents of the pipeline, who argue that the project threatens the environment.

Gerard disagreed. “Today’s action by President Trump is an important step toward increasing American competitiveness and recognizing that our industry is part of the solution to advancing U.S. economic and national security goals,” he said in a statement released March 24.

The East Central Ohio Building & Construction Trades Unions are online at

Monday, January 30, 2017

Eye on President Trump: Clearing the Way for Pipelines to Move Forward

After the presidential election in November, we pledged, as did our fellow unions across the country, to hold President Donald Trump accountable for the promises he'd made during the campaign, and his actions in the White House.

Union representatives across the country expressed support for actions taken by President Trump during his first week in office, in which he cleared the way for two major oil pipelines that had been blocked.

In an Executive Order issued on Jan. 23, the president resurrected the Keystone XL pipeline and expedited work on the Dakota Access pipeline. Both projects had been blocked by the previous administration.

In a statement issued on Jan. 27, Terry O'Sullivan, general president of the Laborers' International Union of North America (LIUNA), said: "President Trump acted boldly and decisively to pave the way for the Keystone Pipeline with an Executive Order earlier this week and we look forward to swift approval of this crucial project, which will create thousands of good jobs and unlock affordable energy."

He continued: "The refiling of Keystone XL by TransCanada signals hope for hard-working men and women who have for too long had their careers and livelihoods undermined."

The president's order came on the heels of a meeting he held at the White House Jan. 22 with representatives of America's major union organizations, including Sean McGarvey, president of the NABTU (North America's Building and Trades Unions). 

The respect that the President of the United States showed us – and when he shows it to us he shows it to three million of our members in the United States – was nothing short of incredible," said McGarvey, "and we will work with him and his administration to help him implement his plans on infrastructure, trade, and energy policy, so that we really do put America back to work in the middle class jobs that our members and all Americans are demanding."

Just as we pledged to hold President Trump accountable, we will give credit where credit is due. In his first few days in office, he acted swiftly to reach out to organized labor and support key infrastructure projects that will create jobs and put our members back to work.

Stay tuned.

The East Central Ohio Building & Construction Trades Council is online at

Monday, January 16, 2017

Right to Work: State Lawmakers' Positions That Are Wrong for Workers

In a recent article published on its website, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) cautioned unions and their members about the increasing number of government officials who are voicing support for right-to-work laws.

Missouri State House
As the article stated, "New Republican governors in Missouri and New Hampshire and an incoming GOP House majority in Kentucky mean big changes are coming for the labor community in those states."

As we pointed out on this blog last Augustworkers in right-to-work states earn almost $6,000 a year less than workers in other states. In addition, right-to-work states have:

  • Lower wages and incomes
  • Lower rates of health insurance coverage
  • Higher poverty and infant mortality rates
  • Less investment in education
  • Higher workplace fatalities

By contrast, states without right-to-work laws benefit from a higher tax base, which has the effect of improving the overall quality of life.

In the IBEW article, President Lonnie R. Stephenson said that unions would be spending "the next few years" fighting such attacks on working men and women at the state and federal levels. "Wouldn’t it be nice," he said, "if these elected officials spent less time attacking unions and a little more time working to make the middle class accessible to even more of their constituents?”

The union also cautioned against attacks on education that could negatively affect union apprenticeship programs.
The article concluded with this comment from Stephenson: “All of this just means it’s more important than ever that we in the labor movement stick together to push back against efforts to silence working people."
The East Central Ohio Building & Construction Trades Council is online at

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Trades Express Concern as Trump Wavers on Infrastructure Promises

Throughout the 2016 presidential race, President-elect Donald Trump made repairing America's infrastructure a central plank of his campaign. He spoke of rebuilding the nation's roads, bridges, airports, as well as schools, hospitals, pipelines, water treatment plants and the electrical grid.

However, since the election he has tempered his promises, as have Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Chief of Staff-designate Reince Preibus. The president-elect himself said that the infrastructure plan won't be a core part of the first few years of his administration.

It's a significant retreat, considering Trump had promised to commit between $500 billion to $1 trillion toward the project.

Trade associations have expressed their concerns. Brian Turmail of the Associated General Contractors of America said it was difficult to tell if Trump's advisers don't know what the plan is, or simply don't want a plan at all, stating simply, "We're worried."

Others have begun organizing lobbying efforts to remind Trump and his transition team of the vital need for the infrastructure program, and the candidate's promises. The American Road and Transportation Builders Assocation prompted its members to send letters to their representatives, to hold their feet to the fire regarding the promises made by the Trump campaign.

The promise was that tens of thousands of jobs would be created by the infrastructure plan, and the building trades stand ready to tackle those jobs and complete the ambitious agenda set forth by Mr. Trump. Now is certainly not the time to back down, and we stand with our fellow unions in urging the new administration to make rebuilding our nation's infrastructure a top priority, and not allowing it to be reduced to an afterthought.

The East Central Ohio Building & Construction Trades Council is online at

Monday, December 19, 2016

Rebuilding America's Infrastructure Could Create Thousands of Needed Jobs

One of the issues that has taken center stage, both during the presidential campaign and since the election, is the rebuilding of the nation's infrastructure.

As a recent editorial in the Youngstown Vindicator stated, "what is not in doubt is the urgent need to fix the nation’s roads, bridges, public transit, railroads, energy system, schools, public parks, ports, airports, waste systems, levees, dams, drinking water facilities and hazardous-waste installations...."

We couldn't agree more, and President-elect Trump's plan to spend $1 trillion over 10 years to address the problem holds tremendous promise. (We hope his unusual approach to funding his plan holds up.) Of particular interest, from a labor perspective, is the fact that tens of thousands of jobs will be created, particularly in many of the nation's older -- and in some cases, crumbling -- inner cities.

Henry Cisneros, who served as secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Bill Clinton, pointed out in a recent article on The Hill website that 14.5 million Americans work in infrastructure-related jobs, a number that should increase under Trump's initiative.

More important, as Cisneros said, "these are jobs that cannot be that will put money in the pockets of people who will spend it in our communities, causing a positive multiplier effect."

At the same time, the National Association of Home Builders estimates there are about 200,000 unfilled construction jobs in the U.S., an 81 percent increase over the past two years. The effects of the recession in 2008 and 2009 caused many workers to go back to school, join the military or take lower-paying jobs in retail and other fields. 

As a result, training will be essential if Mr. Trump's plan is to work. We offer apprenticeship training as a way to learn on the job and build a more secure, high-paying career. Visit our website at to learn more.

We joined the national Building Trades council in congratulating Mr. Trump for his election victory in November, but we also pledged to hold him accountable for his promises and his actions in office. We hope that his plan to rebuild America's infrastructure comes to fruition and creates jobs that will help propel our economy forward.

The East Central Ohio Building & Construction Trades Council is online at

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Working With the President-Elect, and Holding Him Accountable

The election results are in, and the voters have spoken. In January, Donald Trump will take the oath of office as our country's 45th president.

President-Elect Donald Trump
The positions of both candidates were clear, and unions across the country had lined up behind Mrs. Clinton because of her support for organized labor and the issues we've always fought for.

Win or lose, in the United States our tradition is to support the person elected to the highest office in the land and give that person a chance to do the job. At the same time, the concept of a "loyal opposition" is to continue to advocate for the things you hold dear, while also holding elected officials accountable for their decisions while in office.

Immediately after the election, our national affiliate, North America's Building Trades Unions (NABTU), issued a statement congratulating Mr. Trump on his victory“After a long and sometimes divisive campaign, we echo the words of Mr. Trump and Secretary Clinton that the time has come for our nation to come together as one united people and to apply our collective energies in a non-partisan fashion in order to move our great nation forward," said the statement.
“Our nation has always been strong and resilient when it comes to government transition," it continued. "We have always been able to withstand contentious political discourse and debate. In every election, we accept the decision of the American electorate, and then we go about working to coalesce around our new President, not as Democrats and Republicans, but as Americans, and to begin the work of building an even brighter future for our country."

On the other side of the coin, Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, issued a statement right before Thanksgiving that reminded us of the "loyal opposition" role: "This election season we heard many promises of plenty—promises to create jobs, to raise wages, to protect working people from economic insecurity. Yet we know the business lobbyists are already making plans for how the Trump administration can cut working people’s wages, privatize Medicare and Social Security and attack workers’ rights on the job. This Thanksgiving, the labor movement reaffirms our commitment to hold America’s newly elected president accountable to the promises he made to working people."

We just witnessed a presidential election like none other our country, one that elected a candidate like none other before him. Like the NABTU, we wish him well and hope that he pursues policies that benefit American workers and their families. But also, like Mr. Trumka pointed out, we will continue to fight for the issues we believe in, and pledge to hold President Trump accountable for his promises, his decisions, and the results he produces for the American people.

The East Central Ohio Building & Construction Trades Council is online at

Friday, November 18, 2016

National Apprenticeship Week Highlights Skilled Labor Training Across the U.S.A.

This is National Apprenticeship Week (Nov. 14-20), as highlighted by a special web page published by the U.S. Department of Labor. It was the second annual apprenticeship week, as proclaimed in 2015 by President Obama, following in the footsteps of President John F. Kennedy, who issued a similar proclamation, for National Apprenticeship Month, in 1962.

Part of our apprenticeship training brochure
National Apprenticeship Week recognizes the important role apprentices play in offering employers an opportunity to develop a highly skilled workforce and career seekers the chance to earn a salary while learning the skills necessary to be successful in a trade. The week celebrates the role that apprenticeship programs play in moving America's vital industries forward.

As we wrote on this blog in August, apprenticeships are making a difference for skilled workers nationwide. In that article we cited several examples from around the country of the value of apprenticeship programs and the difference they're making both for employers and laborers.

This week an article in The Hill, a political newspaper published in Washington, D.C., focused on removing the barriers that exist for women seeking apprenticeships. "Women currently account for only 6.3% of apprentices and less than 3% of apprentices in the construction and building trades," the article said. "At a time when women make up 47% of the workforce -- and when the construction industry is seeing its highest growth rate since 2005 -- such paltry numbers are simply unacceptable."

Apprenticeship training is of the highest caliber and is specific to the construction industry. Trainees learn exactly what is needed to succeed and qualify for advancement. You can review our brochure containing information about our apprenticeship training programs on our website,