LIUNA Leaders from Across U.S. Lobby Congress to Protect Wages, Healthcare and Pensions; Invest in Energy, Water, and Transportation Infrastructure
Washington, D.C. (April 19, 2016) – Local leaders of LIUNA – the Laborers’ International Union of North America – spread out across Capitol Hill today, lobbying their members of Congress on behalf of the union’s half-million members.
The leaders – about 100 who visited 200 Congressional offices – were in Washington as part of the North American Building Trades Union Legislative Conference. Their Hill visits came immediately after an appearance at the conference by U.S. Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton.
“We’re proud of the enthusiasm and energy our leaders demonstrated today on behalf of the men and women who build our country,” LIUNA General President Terry O’Sullivan said. “It will be difficult for members of Congress – both Democrats and Republicans – to ignore the voices of these leaders, who represent constituents back home.”
Participants, who represent workers predominantly in the construction industry, discussed key issues, including:
Defending the family-supporting Davis-Bacon Act, which protects workers and taxpayers by preventing tax money from being used to drive down living and construction standards on federal projects. A bi-partisan coalition in Congress continues to defend the Act against extremist Republican attacks.
Supporting the jobs-creating clean energy boom driven by the use of natural gas as a bridge fuel to renewable energy forms. Leaders told members of Congress that natural gas extraction and pipeline work is a lifeline to the middle-class for thousands of workers, while also reducing climate-changing carbon emissions.
Repealing the so-called “Cadillac tax,” which unfairly undermines the healthcare plans of millions of Americans. Late last year, Congress passed a delay in the 40-percent tax, which employers and health fund officials predict would ultimately effect 82 percent of healthcare plans, driving up costs and reducing coverage.
Blocking premium increases for the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation. The increases, rather than strengthening pension plans, will weaken healthy plans and further damage struggling plans. In 2014, Congress hiked the premium by more than 100 percent and it is expected that the PBGC will ask for another increase. LIUNA leaders told lawmakers that even with premium increases, the PBGC will remain insolvent and unable to protect pensions.
Passing comprehensive immigration reform and opposing construction industry guest worker programs. Leaders stressed the need to protect U.S. borders and oppose unnecessary temporary worker programs, while also passing reform that provides an earned path to citizenship for those undocumented workers who are already in the country.
Increasing investment in the nation’s deteriorating infrastructure, including in water resources and transportation. Leaders urged members of Congress to build on the multi-year Highway Bill passed in 2015 to fix the nation’s roads, bridges and transit systems. They pressed members to increase investment in water resources, including waterways used for transportation and energy, and investment to improve the supply of safe drinking water.
“LIUNA members and our nation face pressing issues and we are appealing to Congress to take action,” O’Sullivan said. “Fixing our roads and bridges, ensuring an adequate energy infrastructure, defending healthcare and pensions, and enacting comprehensive immigration reform are not partisan problems. The people expect members of Congress to do their jobs and address these issues.”