Win-Win: Create Good Jobs, Rebuild Nation's Infrastructure

The second in a series on the AFL-CIO's job creation proposals.

As part of the AFL-CIO's five-point plan for job creation, we're making concrete proposals to address the nation's immediate jobs crisis while keeping an eye on creating a sustainable economy in the future.

Investment in rebuilding the nation's infrastructure can put millions of people to work now and improve our country for the long term. The United States has some $2.2 trillion in unmet infrastructure needs. That's a lot of work that needs to be done, at a time when 26 million people are unemployed or underemployed.

Here are some infrastructure priorities that can create jobs now while laying out a strong foundation and offering benefits for years to come:


       
  • Transportation, including high-speed rail, roads and bridges.

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  • School construction and repair.

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  • Drinking water and wastewater systems.

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  • Clean energy and green technology investment, as outlined by the Apollo Alliance.

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  • Retrofitting buildings to make them more energy-efficient.

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  • Improvements to National Parks.

These investments would benefit jobless workers as well as communities across the country.

Congress must pass, and President Barack Obama must sign, bills to invest in these areas. At a time when state and local budgets are strained, they need federal help to carry out infrastructure projects, and we can use existing programs and agencies to distribute funds.

However, it's not enough just to put people to work. We need to make sure these jobs are good jobs, living up to our obligation to provide workers with fair wages, health and retirement benefits and safe working conditions. To ensure maximum job creation, we need to apply Buy America provisions to products used in these projects, to make sure the money we're investing really creates jobs here. And we need to make resources available to train workers for these jobs.

Better schools, cleaner water, more energy-efficient homes and businesses, green technology--we can achieve all of these goals while giving people the paychecks they need to keep our economy moving. It's a win-win situation.

(Cross-posted from the AFL-CIO Now Blog.)

Tags: Barack Obama, construction, Economy, green jobs, House, infrastructure, jobs, Labor, schools, Senate, transportation, unemployment, union, union blogs, Unions (all tags)

Comments

4 Comments

Re: Win-Win: Create Good Jobs, Rebuild

great story.

by The Electrical Worker 2009-12-09 07:46AM | 0 recs
To slow

While each of those priorities are important and necessary. While they would indeed help with the long term structural problem. They will not produce the number of jobs needed fast enough.

To be truly effective they also require a longer term commitment and so are properly Budgetary priorities and except for some seed money should not be part of an immediate stimulus discussion.

What we should be doing right now is focusing on getting small business involved. Something that has a broad reach across all types and into all locals. Something that focuses on labor.

To that end how about a Small Business Payroll Tax Rebate? Now I know all the discussion about payroll tax holidays and their downsides. But they are scored with a ROI of 1.26 and we can make it better. What I propose is that we rebate to business its FICA contribution for 10-20 employees. Under this constraint your local lumber yard may just get a bigger benefit then Home Depot. If the rebate is calculated from the median rather then the mean it would also put a slight upward pressure for low end wage increases. The smaller the company the bigger the benefit towards their bottom line and so their ability to hire or invest or even just raise wages.

Just an additional thought.

by Judeling 2009-12-09 04:16PM | 1 recs
RE: To slow
Test this comment entry.
by Jerome Armstrong 2009-12-28 11:53PM | 0 recs
I would like to second this
And verify that the _$2.2 trillion_ number is accurate (source: ASCE)

Amongst those 26 million unemployed, a good deal are architects and engineers, who have been hit surprisingly hard by the great recession.
by NoFortunateSon 2009-12-31 11:17PM | 0 recs

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