Thousands of LIUNA Members to Spend August Recess Fighting for Good Jobs, Investing in America's Basic Needs

Aug 04, 2011, 11:15 ET from Laborers' International Union of North America

Massive Campaign Aimed at Passing Job-Creating Senate Highway Bill, Defeating House GOP Plan That Would Destroy Over 630,000 Jobs

WASHINGTON, Aug. 4, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As members of Congress return to their districts for the August recess, thousands of members of LIUNA – the Laborers' International Union of North America – are preparing to deliver a message: It's time to pass a new Highway Bill that puts people to work and to discard a House GOP plan that would destroy 630,000 good jobs.


The massive member-based campaign comes as Congress continues work on a new Highway Bill. While the Senate is working on a bipartisan plan that would protect jobs and prevent roads and bridges from falling further behind needs, House Republican leaders have offered a proposal that undermines job creation and America's competitiveness, locking in failure for six years.

"In the debt ceiling debate and in the Federal Aviation Administration shutdown, some Republicans have shown they're willing to put politics ahead of our economy and the livelihoods of working men and women," said LIUNA General President Terry O'Sullivan. "We will not let the highway bill be the next victim of that strategy. We need to show that America faces its challenges and doesn't run away from them."

LIUNA members will be visible across the country through visits to Congressional town halls, district offices and other events. They will also make their presence known through phone calls, emails and letters.

"With the debt ceiling debate over for now, it's time to focus on jobs, and LIUNA members are going to pressure Congress to do that," O'Sullivan said. "The choice facing our leaders is simple: Do we want to create jobs or destroy them?"

During the past three weeks, thousands of LIUNA activist members have joined conference calls with O'Sullivan and have volunteered to reach out to their fellow members over the phone and get them involved by placing a call to their member of Congress. The phonebanking effort will continue throughout the August recess and into September.

LIUNA kicked off its mobilization campaign shortly after the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee unveiled a proposal that locks in failure by starving America's roads and bridges of desperately needed investment for six years. The proposal would reduce highway investment from $41 billion this year to $27 billion in fiscal 2012 – a 34 percent reduction that would destroy 630,000 jobs, including 490,000 in highway work.

Today 26 percent of the nation's bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete and a third of roadways are in less than good condition. And while nations such as China are investing more than 10 percent of their gross domestic product – $690 billion this year – in super-highways and other critical infrastructure, the U.S. invests less than 3 percent.

The House Republican plan would eliminate jobs even though the construction industry has remained in a Depression-like state for nearly three years. Unemployment in the industry sits at 15.6 percent, with 1.3 million jobless. The industry has lost over 2 million jobs since 2006.

In contrast, the bipartisan Senate plan preserves and creates jobs by investing $51 billion per year for two years.

"The Senate's plan puts us on the right path, but the House GOP bill waves a white flag of surrender," O'Sullivan said. "We can't let this opportunity pass us by. We can create jobs, invest in our needs, get our economy moving and ensure America's global competitiveness while leaving behind real assets for taxpayers and future generations."

The half-million members of LIUNA – the Laborers' International Union of North America – are on the forefront of the construction industry, a powerhouse of workers who are proud to build America.

SOURCE Laborers' International Union of North America