You don’t have to look far to see signs of America’s failing infrastructure: pothole-filled roads, long lines of traffic on clogged highways, ports that need dredging, and power failures from outdated electrical grids. It’s clear that something must be done to fix these problems, and those solutions can only be put in motion by those at the top.
One of the most prominent issues that the Labor Movement, the current administration and both major political parties found common ground on during the last election was the need to improve our nation’s infrastructure. That was almost 18 months ago, but little has been done to help alleviate the ever-mounting problems within America’s roads, grids, ports and other systems.
As AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka stated, “President Trump has rightly noted the urgency and scale of America’s infrastructure crisis, and he has an opportunity to fix it. Unfortunately, [the most recent] proposal relies more on accounting gimmicks and Wall Street investors than on a new federal commitment, which leaves states and municipalities to pick up the tab.”
It’s critically important for every American that a solid plan be developed to repair and rebuild the infrastructure we use every day. “The right infrastructure plan will lift our communities and drive our economy forward for generations to come,” Trumka added. “That’s why this issue is so important and why the AFL-CIO and our affiliates are working actively with Congress to craft legislation that achieves these goals in a bipartisan way.”
Among facilities badly in need of upgrading is the nation’s navigable waterway system. From harbors and ports to rivers and canals, many are using – or should we say, limping along with – technology and equipment that can be up to 100 years old. America’s inland locks and dams are in dire need of modernization. The Great Lakes face a potential disaster utilizing a single lock capable of handling the thousand-footers within the Soo Locks. From the Pacific, to the Gulf of Mexico, to the Atlantic and even the Lakes, harbors and ports are filling with silt as more dredging is needed. Should any one of these break down, America’s economy would be severely harmed.
Trumka laid it out plain and simple: “If our nation’s leaders are serious about building America, they need to step up with trillions of dollars in new federal funding that supports America’s jobs, America’s resources and America’s products. And they need to uphold high labor standards and good wages and protect working people on the job. If they do, we have the most highly skilled and well-trained workforce ready to get the job done.”
The MTD, its affiliates and its Port Maritime Councils couldn’t agree more. Let’s get Americans back to work, by rebuilding an America that works efficiently, safely and reliably. And let us do it with the best-trained, safest and most experienced workers available – union brothers and sisters.
Approved 2018 MTD Executive Board Meeting