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Jayapal Leads 207 House Democrats in Calling for American Jobs Plan to Mandate Strong Labor Standards

More than 90 percent of the House Democratic Caucus tells Pelosi that, “the primary condition of receiving the taxpayers’ money must be compliance with strong labor standards.”

WASHINGTON — More than 200 lawmakers united today in urging Speaker Nancy Pelosi to require strong labor standards in all forms of federal infrastructure investments made by the American Jobs Plan and future packages. The lawmakers — who make up more than 90 percent of the House Democratic Caucus — emphasized that strong labor standards are especially necessary in the clean energy industry so that more middle class, family-sustaining jobs can be created. The letter is led by Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Blue Dog Coalition Co-Chair Stephanie Murphy (FL-07), and frontliner Susan Wild (PA-07) who co-chairs the New Democrat Coalition’s Climate Change Task Force.

“Whether it is through grants, loans, state revolving loan funds, bonds, or tax incentives, the primary condition of receiving the taxpayers’ money must be compliance with strong labor standards,” wrote the lawmakers. “For too long, policy makers have been presented with a false choice between safeguarding our planet or safeguarding the paychecks of their constituents. We know that both can and should be done by fully attaching strong labor standards to clean energy tax incentives.”

The letter — backed by moderates, progressives, and frontliners across the country — specifically calls for giving workers the ability to choose for themselves whether or not to join a union. It also mandates paying prevailing wages, training the next generation of workers via registered apprenticeships, and building out domestic supply chains with pro-American procurement policies. Additionally, the letter calls for the prevention of wage theft. These types of strong labor standards have been proven to guarantee middle class job creation — especially for workers transitioning from fossil fuel jobs — and a positive return on investment for families, taxpayers, small businesses, and their communities. 

Today’s call for strong labor standards is endorsed by local, state, and national organizations including North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU), International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), International Brotherhood of Teamsters, International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers (BAC), International Union of Elevator Constructors (IUEC), International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT), the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LiUNA), Operative Plasterers’ and Cement Masons’ International Association (OPCMIA), International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART), and the United Association of Union Plumbers & Pipefitters (UA).

“The clean energy industry today has one of the worst track records on labor and fair wages, including some of the lowest unionization rates in the country,” said Mark McManus, the General President of the United Association of Union Plumbers and Pipefitters (UA). “These labor standards are critical to ensuring our shared push towards a clean energy future creates good-paying, family-sustaining jobs for all workers.”

“There is clearly widespread support across the Democratic political spectrum for requiring labor standards on infrastructure projects that receive federal assistance, especially those that qualify for clean energy tax incentives,” said Sean McGarvey, President of North America’s Building Trades Unions. “We greatly appreciate this public confirmation of NABTU’s official position on behalf of the working families of the construction industry. We look forward to working with Congressional leaders in both chambers to ensure labor standards continue to be realized in all appropriate forthcoming legislation — including the American Jobs Plan — to protect the economic security of construction workers across the nation.”

The letter was signed by U.S. Representatives Pramila Jayapal, Stephanie Murphy, Susan Wild, Alma S. Adams, Ph.D., Pete Aguilar, Colin Allred, Jake Auchincloss, Cindy Axne, Nanette Diaz Barragán, Karen Bass, Joyce Beatty, Ami Bera, Donald S. Beyer Jr., Sanford D. Bishop, Jr., Earl Blumenauer, Lisa Blunt Rochester, Suzanne Bonamici, Jamaal Bowman, Ed.D., Brendan F. Boyle, Anthony G. Brown, Julia Brownley, Cori Bush, Cheri Bustos, G. K. Butterfield, Salud Carbajal, Tony Cárdenas, André Carson, Troy A. Carter, Sr., Matt Cartwright, Sean Casten, Kathy Castor, Joaquin Castro, Judy Chu, David N. Cicilline, Katherine M. Clark, Yvette D. Clarke, Emanuel Cleaver, II, Steve Cohen, Gerald E. Connolly, Jim Cooper, J. Luis Correa, Joe Courtney, Angie Craig, Charlie Crist, Jason Crow, Henry Cuellar, Sharice Davids, Danny K. Davis, Madeleine Dean, Peter A. DeFazio, Diana DeGette, Rosa L. DeLauro, Suzan K. DelBene, Antonio Delgado, Mark DeSaulnier, Ted Deutch, Debbie Dingell, Lloyd Doggett, Mike Doyle, Veronica Escobar, Anna G. Eshoo, Adriano Espaillat, Dwight Evans, Lizzie Fletcher, Bill Foster, Lois Frankel, Ruben Gallego, John Garamendi, Jesús G. “Chuy” García, Sylvia R. Garcia, Jared Golden, Jimmy Gomez, Vicente Gonzalez, Josh Gottheimer, Al Green, Raúl M. Grijalva, Jahana Hayes, Brian Higgins, Jim Himes, Steven Horsford, Chrissy Houlahan, Sheila Jackson Lee, Sara Jacobs, Hakeem Jeffries, Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Jr., Mondaire Jones, Kaiali’i Kahele, Marcy Kaptur, William R. Keating, Robin L. Kelly, Ro Khanna, Daniel T. Kildee, Derek Kilmer, Andy Kim, Ron Kind, Ann Kirkpatrick, Raja Krishnamoorthi, Ann McLane Kuster, Conor Lamb, James R. Langevin, Rick Larsen, John B. Larson, Brenda L. Lawrence, Al Lawson, Barbara Lee, Susie Lee, Teresa Leger Fernandez, Andy Levin, Mike Levin, Ted W. Lieu, Zoe Lofgren, Alan Lowenthal, Elaine G. Luria, Stephen F. Lynch, Tom Malinowski, Carolyn B. Maloney, Sean Patrick Maloney, Kathy Manning, Doris Matsui, Lucy McBath, Betty McCollum, A. Donald McEachin, James P. McGovern, Jerry McNerney, Gregory W. Meeks, Grace Meng, Kweisi Mfume, Gwen Moore, Joseph D. Morelle, Seth Moulton, Frank J. Mrvan, Jerrold Nadler, Grace F. Napolitano, Joe Neguse, Marie Newman, Donald Norcross, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Tom O’Halleran, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Frank Pallone, Jr., Jimmy Panetta, Chris Pappas, Bill Pascrell, Jr., Donald M. Payne, Jr., Ed Perlmutter, Scott Peters, Dean Phillips, Chellie Pingree, Mark Pocan, Katie Porter, Ayanna Pressley, David E. Price, Mike Quigley, Jamie Raskin, Kathleen M. Rice, Deborah K. Ross, Lucille Roybal-Allard, Raul Ruiz, M.D., C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, Bobby L. Rush, Tim Ryan, Linda T. Sánchez, John P. Sarbanes, Mary Gay Scanlon, Jan Schakowsky, Adam Schiff, Bradley S. Schneider, Kurt Schrader, Kim Schrier, M.D., David Scott, Robert C. “Bobby” Scott, Terri A. Sewell, Brad Sherman, Mikie Sherrill, Albio Sires, Elissa Slotkin, Adam Smith, Darren Soto, Abigail Spanberger, Jackie Speier, Greg Stanton, Haley Stevens, Marilyn Strickland, Thomas R. Suozzi, Eric Swalwell, Mark Takano, Dina Titus, Rashida Tlaib, Paul D. Tonko, Norma J. Torres, Ritchie Torres, Lori Trahan, David Trone, Lauren Underwood, Juan Vargas, Marc Veasey, Filemon Vela, Nydia M. Velázquez, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Maxine Waters, Bonnie Watson Coleman, Peter Welch, Jennifer Wexton, Nikema Williams, Frederica S. Wilson, and John Yarmuth.

The letter is available here