Laborers Set Legislative Priorities for 2012 Session

Some rights reserved by TBoardThe Laborers District Council of Minnesota & North Dakota (LDC of MN & ND) has released its legislative priorities for the 2012 session of the Minnesota legislature. "This will be a critical session for Laborers," said Todd Pufahl, Legislative Director for the LDC of MN & ND. "As the economy slowly recovers from the Great Recession, we need the legislature to be laser focused on creating jobs for Minnesota's critically depressed construction industry."

"Our members are ready to fight back against a corporate agenda that cuts the taxes of millionaires while kicking hard working families off unemployment and trying to steal their unions," said Russell Hess, Political Organizer for LDC of MN & ND. Support of rank and file members will be the key to achieving these priorities. We need all of our members to first, sign up to our E-Activist List and then to respond when your union calls to take part in any needed actions. The job you save may be your own.

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Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis touts American Jobs Act with Laborers Members

On a windy Thursday afternoon, Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis visited construction workers and business leaders at the 10th Avenue Bridge in Minneapolis to discuss the American Jobs Act’s impact for Minnesota’s economy and the state’s workers. Also speaking at the event were Congresswoman Betty McCollum, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and Kaylon Ashford, a young worker training for a job in construction.

The American Jobs Act will invest more than $600 million in the North Star State to fund highway and transit modernization projects — which could put roughly 7,500 Minnesotans back to work modernizing roads and bridges. In 2007, there were 116,000 people employed by Minnesota’s construction sector. Today, that number is down to 86,300.

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Impact of Construction Jobs in Minnesota

Policymakers need to start finding a way to get our economy moving again. The construction industry presents, in the words of corporate America, a large ROI (return-on-investment). Putting construction workers to work stimulates the economy not only by injecting wages into it and thereby increasing consumer demand, but it eases the burden on social welfare and unemployment systems.

To see the economic impact of the consrtruction industry, lets look at some facts. 

  • In July 2011, construction employment in Minnesota totaled 83,800 people, decreases of 3% from July 2010 and 37% from February 2006 when the industry peaked in Minnesota.
  • In 2010, the average pay for a Minnesota construction worker was $51,740; 10% more than all private sector employees in the state.
  • Minnesota had 16,900 construction firms in 2009, of which 95% had fewer than 20 employees. 
  • An additional $1 Billion in nonresidential construction spending would add $3.4 Billion to GDP, $1.1 Billion to personal earnings and create or sustain 28,500 jobs
    • 9,700 on site construction jobs
    • 4,600 indirect jobs from supplying construction materials and services
    • 14,300 induced jobs, created from construction workers nd suppliers spending their incomes

If politicians truly care about Minnesota's and America's small businesses and working families, stimulating the construction industry is a great way to start showing it, since the vast majority of construction firms in Minnesota and the United States are small businesses.

Statistics from: "The Economic Impact of Constructionin the Unites States and Minnesota," published by the AGC of America.


Build Minnesota so Minnesota Works Rally Update!

The Build Minnesota so Minnesota Works Rally was a great success. About 500 people gathered on the Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis. With construction work on the Corps of Engineers Lock and Dam just down river, in view of the site of I-35W bridge collapse tragedy and standing on a former railroad bridge that had been converted to a pedestrian crossing, the setting was perfect to talk about putting people back to work by harnessing America's creativity to build a 21st Century Transportation system. We have linked below some pictures and video of the event. Thanks to everyone who attended. Stay tuned for more on how to help us create more family supporting jobs Building Minnesota.

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Stop Congress From Destroying More Construction Jobs

This week, members of LIUNA – the Laborers’ International Union of North America – begin fighting job-killing cuts in transportation investment proposed by House Republican leaders while also pressuring lawmakers to pass a Senate proposal that will invest in America’s roads and bridges and put men and women to work.

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Build Minnesota so Minnesota Works!

Laborers Union members and members of the community who support creating jobs by rebuilding our state's crumbling infrastructure are called to join us for a BUILD MINNESOTA SO MINNESOTA WORKS Rally. The rally takes place on the Historic Stone Arch Bridge in Downtown Minneapolis. Infrastructure projects past and present surround the bridge with the tragic I-35W bridge in the background and the Mississippi River Locks and Dams nearby. At the rally, Laborers Union General President Terry O'Sullivan will describe a vision of rebuilding the deteriorating infrastructure of Minnesota and America. We believe that improving roads, bridges, water infrasctructure and energy producing facilities is the key to kickstarting the American economy. A massive rebuilding effort would create new high quality jobs for American workers and spur economic development across the country.

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BlueGreen Alliance releases National Transportation Policy

"An overhaul of our nation's transportation system is long overdue. The system is broken, and broke - in addition to improving our infrastructure, we also need to create sustainable revenue sources to fund needed investments." That is how the last paragraph of the BlueGreen Alliance's new National Policy on Transportation ends. Along the way, the policy lays out six elements of what a comprehensive transportation policy should include:

  1. Modernize Transportation Infrastructure and Make It More Efficient
  2. Make Our Transportation Networks Greener
  3. Support Flexibility for Transit Operating Assistance
  4. Build Cleaner Cars and Trucks Here in America
  5. Support Cleaner Ports and Freight
  6. Create Quality U.S. Jobs in Transportation

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Congressman Walz Proposes Infrastructure and Energy Independence Bill

Earlier this week, a bi-partisan group of US Representatives, including Laborers endorsed Congressman Tim Walz of Minnesota's First Congressional District, introduced The Infrastructure Jobs and Energy Independence Act. The bill would move the United States toward a clean energy future by using funds collected from expanding domestic offshore oil production to fund research and speed the development of and transition to cleaner energy sources, such as wind, solar, clean coal and biomass. In addition, the bill would rebuild America’s aging locks, dams, bridges, and roads, and would be the largest infrastructure investment in U.S. history.

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Governor Dayton proposes "Better Roads for a Better Minnesota"

Earlier this week, Governor Mark Dayton proposed an infrastructure improvement program called "Better Roads for a Better Minnesota." The program aims to improve 700 miles of state highways over the next four years in an effort to put a dent in the 750 miles of highways in Minnesota classified as in "poor" condition. It is estimated that the program will result in approximately 9,900 direct and indirect private sector jobs. "Once again, Governor Dayton has stepped up to the plate and found a way to create some jobs for Laborers Union members," said Todd Pufahl, Legislative Director for the Laborers District Council of MN & ND. "Now if we could just get the legislature to spend more time on creating jobs and less time on cutting pay for construction workers," a reference to efforts by business groups to cut prevailing wages.

One of the best parts about the $398,000,000 investment is that it does require increased revenue.

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Free Download of Tom Morello's "Union Town"

Laborers Union members are peacefully defending their rights in states all across the US, including here in Minnesota, and they’re all up against GOP underhanded tactics pushing through dangerous bills. Over the past two weeks, Laborers have been coming legislative hearings for bills that would reduce the pay of construction workers on state funded projects. While our union brothers and sisters in each state face their own battles for saving workers rights, they all share in the belief that ending fundamental rights to organize does not balance budgets. According to the AFL-CIONOW BLOG,

Singer Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine has always been a strong supporter of working people. Morello was so inspired after taking part in a demonstration and headlining  a concertin February for the protesters at the state Capitol in Madison, Wis., that he wrote what he calls “fighting songs.”

Not only did he write and record the songs, he’s donating the proceeds of the new eight-song extended play (EP) “Union Town” to help working people. 

Click on the video above to listen to the song and then click below to download the song to your computer.