General President of The Laborers’ International Union of North America (LiUNA), Terry O’Sullivan, spoke with America’s Work Force Radio Podcast on July 13 to discuss pipeline and infrastructure issues in the United States.
O’Sullivan first spoke about the Dakota Access Pipeline and how LiUNA members are proud to build it and that it would help create 8,000 family-supporting jobs for highly skilled and trained men and women. He then discussed permitting processes and how the clock can run out, perse, on projects causing them to remain unfinished. O’Sullivan said that these pipeline projects can face lawsuit after lawsuit, driving the costs up and wasting valuable time and costing much more than originally anticipated.
O’Sullivan then explained the massive need for infrastructure improvements and repairs in the United States. He said that with the passing of the INVEST in America Act, millions of jobs will be created, putting more men and women back to work. O’Sullivan said that funding for infrastructure was greatly needed and now that they have it, it is time to get to work. Lastly he spoke about the Supreme Court ruling on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
Executive Director of Helmets to Hardhats, David Porter spoke about their organization and connecting transitioning active-duty military members, veterans, National Guard and Reservists with jobs in the construction industry. Since the organization’s beginning, Helmets to Hardhats have placed 36,000 service members into quality career fields in the construction trades. He explained that Helmets to Hardhats is the bridge between veterans and the 15 trades and their signatory contractors. Porter said that the industry affiliates give the applicants expedited preference on their applications and get them into training and work sooner. Finally, he discussed the perception of the construction industry and how it is seen as “less than” or below a desk job. Porter explained that a career in the construction industry is rewarding, respectable and a viable career option.
Senior Outreach and Education Program Specialist with the Office of Ohio Consumers Counsel, Andrew Tinkham, spoke about House Bill 246. He said that this bill effectively weakens the OCC’s ability to advocate for Ohio’s utility users. Tinkham said that the bill increases disparities in the state regulatory process between powerful, influential utilities and residential consumers, tilting the balance of state regulation to utilities. Another concern he had about the bill is that it limits OCC’s advocacy to the Public Utility Commission of Ohio. That would mean that OCC is not authorized to protect consumers at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, PJM (regional transmission), and other federal courts.