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Brown, Senators Push Administration to Ensure Infrastructure & Manufacturing Projects Pay Good Wages, Support American Workers | U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) led colleagues in calling on the Biden Administration to ensure that Department of Energy projects funded through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the Inflation Reduction Act use project labor agreements, which ensure that workers on the projects make fair wages and have other workplace protections, and that the projects benefit from skilled, well-trained workers.

Brown was joined by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Laphonza Butler (D-CA), Bob Casey (D-PA), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Ed Markey (D-MA), Jack Reed (D-RI), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Bernie Sanders (D-VT), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Tina Smith (D-MN), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).

“Construction projects funded by the DOE must encourage PLAs to the fullest extent possible and during each step of the process, from design to construction. PLAs play a crucial role in ensuring these projects have access to a highly skilled, reliable workforce that ensures the work is done on cost and on time. For workers, PLAs mean higher wages, high-quality job training and apprenticeships, improved workplace safety, and pre-established mechanisms to quickly resolve labor disputes and stay on the job. For workers, businesses, and communities, it is critical that every construction projects includes a PLA,” wrote the senators.

Brown has long led efforts to ensure that American tax dollars support American workers. He secured the strongest ever Buy America protections in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, to ensure that manufactured products, construction materials, and iron and steel used in federally funded infrastructure projects are Made in America. He also secured requirements in the Inflation Reduction Act that construction of new domestic energy projects funded through the bill pay prevailing wage to workers. And Brown successfully pressed the Administration to require project labor agreements for CHIPS Act projects, which play a critical role in ensuring that these projects have access to a highly-skilled, reliable construction workforce to ensure work is done on cost and on time.

The full letter is available HERE and below:

Dear Secretary Granholm:

We urge you to advocate for project labor agreements (PLAs) and prioritize the use of union labor in all construction projects funded by the Department of Energy (DOE) through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). These laws represent historic investments in American infrastructure and manufacturing and have the potential to generate millions of new jobs across the country. The use of PLAs helps ensure the jobs created are good-paying jobs that prioritize workers, lead to successful projects, and grow the middle class.

Construction projects funded by the DOE must encourage PLAs to the fullest extent possible and during each step of the process, from design to construction. PLAs play a crucial role in ensuring these projects have access to a highly skilled, reliable workforce that ensures the work is done on cost and on time. For workers, PLAs mean higher wages, high-quality job training and apprenticeships, improved workplace safety, and pre-established mechanisms to quickly resolve labor disputes and stay on the job. For workers, businesses, and communities, it is critical that every construction projects includes a PLA.

We also request that DOE prioritize funding recipients supportive of organized labor and a union workforce. This includes considering entities that commit to neutrality when organizing, voluntarily recognize unions, and do not exhibit anti-union behavior such as holding captive audience meetings. Using union labor for these projects will ensure that workers are paid competitive wages while the projects benefit from having a trained workforce.

The DOE has shown a commitment to agreements that benefit workers and communities when selecting funding recipients, such as requiring Community Benefits Plans. Community Benefits Plans help to determine and encourage applicants’ support for union jobs and a diverse workforce which translates into real investments in America’s workers and neighborhoods. Additionally, PLAs are already required of Federal construction projects with a total estimated cost of $35 million or more based on implementation of President Biden’s February 2022 Executive Order 14063. Advocating for the further use of PLAs and prioritizing the use of union labor throughout all phases of the project is in line with the Administration’s priorities and will provide structure and stability to projects, ensuring the work is done efficiently by a well-paid workforce.

The ongoing landmark investments in American infrastructure and manufacturing have the opportunity to revitalize and reshape the American economy. We urge you to continue to put workers at the center of these transformational laws and to the greatest extent possible include PLAs in projects supported by DOE IIJA and IRA implementation funding to help make these projects a success and provide good-paying union jobs for America’s workers.

Sincerely,

xxx

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