New York, NY – Trillions of dollars will be spent by both the public and private sectors going forward on infrastructure and sustainability investments. There will be great leeway in where and how these funds are to be invested.  What criteria should there be for selecting, building and operating these investments so that infrastructure not only addresses its core functions (transportation, communications, water, etc.) but also advances critical imperatives in the economic development, environmental and social arenas?

Unions and the wider labor-management community have the opportunity and arguably the obligation to influence these investments for the betterment of workers and wider society. Now is the time to clearly define what labor and the labor-management community want reflected so that these funds serve as catalysts for social and economic revival.  

What are the priorities in quality job creation, better wages, worker training, made in America materials, collective bargaining, ending systemic discrimination and other imperatives? How can they be addressed in our infrastructure renewal and expansion?

The National Labor & Management Conference will bring together key leaders of labor to discuss, identify and call-out key principles which should guide these investments.  The February 2022 forum explore how organized labor can inform both public sector investments in infrastructure and private sector investments in wider sustainability including both infrastructure and other initiatives.  A final summary is planned as a foundation for wider action.

On the public sector side, the upcoming $1 trillion plus in federal investment in U.S. infrastructure will predominantly be distributed to state governments which will have great latitude in how these funds are spent.  Additionally, local municipal financing will continue to fund the development of substantial infrastructure as well.

In the wider market, to date there is $35 trillion invested in sustainable assets worldwide – $1 of every $3 managed globally.  “Sustainability” is now a major investment priority.  Sustainability has three core E-S-G elements: Environmental, Social and Governance.  While many have focused on the “environmental” element of sustainability, “social and governance” are elements that organized labor has clear standing to help define applicable criteria and in the process influence where these investments are made, how they are developed / built and ultimately operated.

Now is the time for organized labor to clearly weigh in on how we can make our infrastructure and wider sustainability investments serve as catalysts to advance key priorities of American Workers. 

Bill Raisch serves as director of the National Labor & Management Conference and executive director of the International Center for Enterprise Preparedness at New York University where he advances collaborative efforts to address shared challenges to our organizations, communities and nation.


1 thought on “Defining What Unions Want to See in Infrastructure and Sustainability Investments ”

  1. The unions philosophical formula is all too obvious and more importantly, easy to appreciate [ without a magic wand] – *WORKER BEFORE PROFIT. This formula can’t be, the worker is to have legitimate representation [collective bargaining -treated with dignity/respect and honor].
    The 6th paragraph of this article couldn’t be any more clear – the balance components of a right sovereign are the E-S-G. The G plays a vital rule in WHY a CBA[Collective Bargaining Agreement] is a key element that will smoothly open the door[s] to a brighter S. And in return, this will contribute greatly to the better/stronger E.
    * A huge portion of the G seems to be intoxicated by its bent union busting officials. And its ties with dirty money that’s used for union busting campaigns [“According to a Cornell labor expert, about 75% of all U.S. employers have engaged the services of a consultant or law firm to stymie efforts by workers to organize – and are spending an estimated US$340 million a year to do so.” ~ The labor-busting law firms and consultants that keep Google, Amazon and other workplaces union-free
    August 24, 2020 8.19am EDT/ Scott Walker’s War on Unions Fueled New Wave of Labor Organizing The labor-busting law firms and consultants that keep Google, Amazon and other workplaces union-free
    August 24, 2020 8.19am EDT].

    As a proud unionist, I’m convinced that a march[ 7 filled busses with all union trade members/organizers, couldn’t hurt a fly -OF COURSE, a proof of a vaccination card is a must/wearing a mask! -The sane isn’t interested in spreading Convid-19!] toward Washington is mandatory [ *just like the PRO ACT is mandatory!]. – we are outraged/ tired of the cyclical nonsense! – the PRO ACT is a must !…Collective Bargaining is humane at best !… – Right To Work is a CANCER !… open shop is a visible subterfuge !…
    >>>>>>> a CIVIL MARCH is something that can happen. In fact, I can’t remember when was the last time that all trades got together [I’m talking about good numbers- big numbers equal power !] and had a big march. Why— is— there— a— delay? Beats me[ If my trade union leaders are waiting for a significant decline of this pandemic, then I can fully understand the delay [ before the pandemic, we had the shot to move like lightening(CIVIL MARCH-grab the bull by its horn).

    >>>>>>> Nothing radical here ! This is all just a sweetheart reminder, of why the trade union is no monkey business.

    hamilton pagan
    Cement and concrete workers local union 20
    Be safe !

    GOD BLESS America

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