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