“We want all of our resources to support our value and that includes
leveraging our own money while also securing competitive returns,” said
NABTU President Sean McGarvey on April 9, 2019 as McGarvey kicked off the
annual North America’s Building Trades Unions’ Washington D.C. Conference.
More than 2,000 construction workers and industry leaders attended this
year’s NABTU legislative conference as President Sean McGarvey called for
action saying that the nation’s infrastructure is in critical need of
renewal. Infrastructure investment, Davis-Bacon, and project labor
agreements were issues discussed throughout the program. McGarvey proudly
mentioned the recent overturn of Right to Work legislation in Missouri,
enactment of prevailing wage laws in Illinois and the recent ‘Count Me In’
campaign in New York City’s Hudson Yards as victories for the labor
With our nation’s infrastructure receiving a D rating, starting needed
construction projects to repair roads, bridges, and schools throughout the
nation is critical, said the NABTU President. Lawmakers passing an
infrastructure plan remains a top priority – one which employs union members
and allows unions to leverage some of their own capital to help fund
projects. McGarvey talked about the $13 billion John F. Kennedy
International Airport Terminal 1 project which began with $150 million in
investments from union members’ retirement money. Pension funds, he said,
need to be invested in ways that provide work opportunities for members and
create additional unionized jobs.
McGarvey said, initiatives to curb carbon emissions can be effectively
folded into a comprehensive infrastructure plan. A “real deal,” he
continued, empowers union workers in the energy sector for natural gas
export and other forms of clean energy construction. As a follow-up, Speaker
Nancy Pelosi mentioned that a “green ideal,” takes place when infrastructure
is built “in a green way” to create jobs and maintain commerce. Speaker
Pelosi also emphasized her support for collective bargaining, prevailing
wage laws, project labor agreements and the Davis-Bacon Act.
“Infrastructure will and should include Davis-Bacon,” U.S. Secretary of
Labor Alexander Acosta added.