By Steve Smith
The negotiating on President Biden’s historic infrastructure plan is under way. This nearly $2 trillion bill would be the largest investment in infrastructure and jobs in American history.
Will the jobs created be union jobs? Vice President Kamala Harris penned an op-ed this week in USA Today laying out the administration’s priorities. Here’s an excerpt:
“Additionally, each and every one of these jobs will have the free and fair choice to organize or join a union. Unions built the middle class, and the president and I believe strongly that unions can help expand the middle class today — helping working families who have been shut out, ladder up.
Which brings me to my final point, these jobs are for everybody. In rural communities and communities of color, disinvestment will be replaced with investment. Work will be underway everywhere. And workers everywhere will benefit — with a good job, yes, and also by making an important contribution in their own backyard.”
While it’s heartening to see that level of commitment from the administration on union jobs, Republicans are sure to try to water down the “good jobs” aspect of the bill in favor of giveaways to their corporate donors. We need to remain vigilant as a movement in protecting jobs and making union jobs the priority.
What Would the American Jobs Plan do for CA? If we can move this jobs plan forward while protecting and expanding union jobs, the benefits for California would be immense. The administration released a breakdown of the benefits for our state this week. Here’s a few highlights:
ROADS AND BRIDGES: In California, there are 1,536 bridges and over 14,220 miles of highway in poor condition. Since 2011, commute times have increased by 14.6% in California and on average, each driver pays $799 per year in costs due to driving on roads in need of repair. The American Jobs Plan will devote more than $600 billion to transform our nations’ transportation infrastructure and make it more resilient, including $115 billion repairing roads and bridges.
PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION: Californians who take public transportation spend an extra 66.6% of their time work commuting and non-White households are 1.6 times more likely to commute via public transportation. 16% of trains and other transit vehicles in the state are past useful life. The American Jobs Plan will modernize public transit with an $85 billion investment.
CAREGIVING: Across the country, hundreds of thousands of older adults and people with disabilities are in need of home and community-based services. The President’s plan will invest $400 billion to help more people access care and improve the quality of caregiving jobs.
CHILD CARE: In California, there is an estimated $3.22 billion gap in what schools need to do maintenance and make improvements and 60% of residents live in a childcare desert. The American Jobs Plan will modernize our nation’s schools and early learning facilities and build new ones in neighborhoods across California and the country.
You can check out the full report here,