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International Operating Engineer - Spring 2019

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The quarterly magazine of the International Union of Operating Engineers

Politics & Legislation

Politics & Legislation Infrastructure Now What’s Cooking in the Congress The Water Quality Protection and Job Creation Act, another bipartisan House bill, authorizes approximately .5 billion to improve the nation’s wastewater infrastructure. The bill will create good paying jobs and provide communities with infrastructure that will last for decades. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman, Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), introduced the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund Act, which would provide special budgetary treatment to expenditures from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund by exempting such expenditures from congressional budget caps. The legislation will result in a total of billion being released to invest in our ports and harbors over the next decade. to support transportation investments for decades – even before the mid- 1950s when Eisenhower created the national highway system and financed with a gas tax. We are joined by the AFL-CIO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, American Road and Transportation Builders (ARTBA), American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), American Trucking Association, and many others. Gas taxes are easy to administer, connect directly to how much one uses the roads, and Republican Senator John Hoeven (ND) and Democratic Senator Ron Wyden (OR), the lead Democrat on the powerful Senate Finance Committee, introduced the Move America Act. The bipartisan bill would create Move America Bonds to expand taxexempt financing for public-private partnerships (P3) and Move America Credits to leverage additional private equity investment at a lower cost for states. Nearly identical legislation has been introduced in the House of Representatives by a bipartisan duo, Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Judy Walorski (R-IN). Projects financed by the legislation will be required to pay construction workers Davis-Bacon prevailing wage rates. More IUOE Members Step Up to Public Service in New Jersey State AFL-CIO Celebrates 1,030 Labor Candidate Election Victories [above] Local 77 members working to repair the Arlington Memorial Bridge in Washington, DC as lawmakers in Congress debate infrastructure funding for the nation. THE 116TH CONGRESS kicked off with the introduction of a number of job-creating infrastructure bills. Congress and the Trump Administration have agreed on a topline number of trillion dollars over ten years to rebuild the United States, though finding money to pay for it is always a challenge. Congressional leaders and the President will meet in the next weeks in an effort to reach a deal on how to pay for the massive package. General President Callahan called for an end to the bipartisan gridlock on rebuilding America. “Invest in modern infrastructure. Voters support it. Business and Labor agree. Lawmakers from both parties say they want to do it. Now is the time to find the will and take action,” Callahan said, as he kicked off Infrastructure Week in the nation’s capital on May 13. Both sides of Capitol Hill and leaders in both parties are pursuing specific pieces of legislation across all types of infrastructure, legislation that could serve as the foundation for a comprehensive infrastructure package, but only if agreement can be reached on funding. Both the House and Senate introduced the Rebuild America’s Schools Act with bipartisan support. The legislation would invest more than 0 billion in America’s public schools by funding billion in grants and billion in bonds to help address critical physical and digital infrastructure needs. According to economic projections, the bill would also create more than 1.9 million good-paying jobs. The legislation contains key labor standards for Operating Engineers, including Davis-Bacon Act prevailing wages for construction workers and “Buy American” requirements for the manufactured products to rebuild schools. America’s surface transportation law, Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act, or FAST Act, expires on October 1, 2020. The transportation program will face a nearly billion annual shortfall at that point. The program is in crisis. Policymakers do not have the luxury of doing nothing. Chairman DeFazio (D-OR) is refining and reintroducing his Penny for Progress Act, which would deposit approximately 0 billion over fifteen years in the Highway Trust Fund, shoring up the nation’s biggest and most significant infrastructure program for the long haul. The bill would index the gasoline and diesel user fees, which have not increased since 1993 and has seen its purchasing power decrease by two-thirds. For the first time, the bill would require the federal government to frontload the investments through long-term financing of bonds – much like states and local governments finance their projects. Raising the gas tax has had broad support in the construction industry and across the spectrum of business and labor organizations for many years. The IUOE has advocated for user fees Prevailing Wage Gets Real Protections in Washington GOVERNOR JAY INSLEE of Washington has signed a bill improving the state’s prevailing wage law. The bill, initially proposed by the IUOE, was officially sponsored by Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson. The bill was also endorsed by the Washington state building trades council, which helped lobby for passage. This new law closed a huge loophole, one the Attorney General’s office described as follows: ...Continued on page 31 [below] Seated center, Governor Jay Inslee; Far left, Attorney General Bob Ferguson; Third from left, Jim Hernandez Local 612; Back row far right, Greg McClure Local 612; Back row second from right, Josh Swanson IUOE Local 302 IN NEW JERSEY, Romaine Graham of IUOE Local 68 was appointed to fill a Freeholder vacancy in Essex County, while Jamillah Beasley-McCloed of the same Local was appointed to fill a vacancy on the Irvington Town Council. The announcement was made by the New Jersey State AFL-CIO Labor Candidates Program. ...Continued on page 31 16 INTERNATIONAL OPERATING ENGINEER SPRING 2019 17

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