Senate Republicans blocked a bipartisan infrastructure bill from advancing to debate yesterday in the Senate. The sweeping legislation has been a key theme of the Biden administration.
AFL-CIO Government Affairs Director Bill Samuel agrees a sweeping infrastructure bill is needed. Samuel joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss the infrastructure bill, the problem with privatizing infrastructure and more.
Getting closer on infrastructure
Samuel is confident President Biden will sign a sweeping infrastructure bill in the near future. Throughout the U.S., roads and bridges are falling apart, and an infrastructure bill would greatly help the middle class who use the infrastructure on a daily basis.
The American Jobs Plan is estimated to put tens of thousands to work on long term projects. Samuel said this will lift people out of poverty by teaching them the skills needed for fruitful careers in the building trades.
There is always money to be made in the private industry, which has private investors interested in infrastructure projects. Samuel said this would be horrible for any infrastructure plan, since it privatizes a public investment.
Samuel explained how privatizing American infrastructure would greatly increase overall cost. Public infrastructure can be regulated and standards can be set to ensure only highly trained and highly skilled tradesmen and tradeswomen work on these projects. A privatized system would allow a project owner to determine who works on each project, opening the door for poor labor that will have repercussions down the road, such as fractured bridges and sunken highways.
Warrior Met Coal Strike
The strike continues at an Alabama coal mine, with strike activities spilling onto Wall Street, where Black Rock Fund Advisors hold offices. Black Rock is the hedge fund that owns Warrior Met. The fund is now profitable, but the company continues to hold out on its workers.
Samuel said the workers at Warrior Met have given up plenty over the years in order to keep their jobs. The company told the workers they would be paid back once the company was profitable again, but they are now backpedaling that promise.