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The Biden administration is taking a new approach to the tons of spent nuclear fuel temporarily housed at nuclear plants across the country. The Department of Energy has announced a search for willing communities to store the nuclear waste after abandoning the decades-long effort to designate Nevada’s Yucca Mountain as a repository following local opposition. “Hearing from and then working with communities interested in hosting one of these facilities is the best way to finally solve the nation’s spent nuclear fuel management issues,” Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said in a... Read More
As part of the Biden administration’s ongoing commitment to energy workers, an online system has been launched to match $45 billion in investment opportunities with local economic revitalization programs. The site was announced in a Dec. 13 discussion with administration officials, stakeholders, labor union members and representatives from private companies. They discussed how to repurpose existing assets like coal-fired plants to service new industries and technologies to preserve jobs and reposition assets as economic development tools. Including AFLCIO and United Mine Workers... Read More
President Biden signed an executive order requiring the federal government to reduce emissions from its buildings, vehicles and operations. With it, the administration seeks to transform how the government builds, purchases and operates while supporting the growth of the domestic clean energy and clean technology industries. President Lonnie Stephenson cheered the Dec. 8 announcement. “The IBEW applauds President Biden’s ambitious plan to put the federal government on the road to sustainability. By ensuring union workers are front and center in its efforts to reduce carbon emissions and... Read More
At a roundtable with union leaders, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken pledged that new trade pacts and related foreign policy will help American workers. “Our domestic competitiveness, our national security, and a thriving middle class are mutually reinforcing,” Blinken said. “We want to make sure that we’re engaged in an innovation economy that delivers for workers across the country.” He spoke with a group that included now-retired Pittsburgh Local 5 Business Manager Mike Dunleavy and representatives from the Steelworkers, Teamsters, United Food and Commercial Workers, Communications... Read More
IBEW President Lonnie Stephenson is rallying members to help protect the country from undemocratic forces in statelegislatures and in the U.S. Congress seeking to limit voting rights. In a call with AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler and U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (N.Y.) on Jan. 14, he cited efforts in 19 states to restrict voting rights, limit early voting and reduce the number of polling places. Combine these trends with the heavy-handed use of the filibuster – a procedural tool giving the minority party the power to block legislation that comes to the Senate floor – and... Read More
National Labor Relations Board general counsel Jennifer Abruzzo announced an effort to pursue employers in court for engaging in illegal anti-union retaliation. The memorandum released on Feb. 1 seeks injunctions to stop coercion in its tracks – before ongoing employer harassment has the potential to intimidate the entire workforce and stop a nascent organizing effort. “Threats often escalate into action, imposing even more burdens and chilling effects on employees,” said General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo. “They are not mere words impacting employees, but a prelude to what is likely to come... Read More
A task force created by President Biden in the early days of his administration to promote worker organizing and collective bargaining has produced a report with nearly 70 recommendations.   “The Biden-Harris Administration believes that increasing worker organizing and empowerment is critical to growing the middle class, building an economy that puts workers first, and strengthening our democracy,” the report says.   The 46-page report outlines federal policies, practices and programs to promote the Biden administration’s policy of support for worker power. It also connects the... Read More
President Biden was already slated to visit Pittsburgh on Jan. 28, when a 50-year-old bridge near the speech venue picked that day to give way, collapsing under its weight and injuring several people on it at the time.   Luckily none of the injuries were serious and no one was killed. But the tragedy horrifically emphasized the message of the day: the urgency of accomplishing all of those long-deferred infrastructure projects.   “We saw today, when a bridge is in disrepair, it literally can threaten lives,” Biden said, adding that the bridge “had been rated in poor condition for the... Read More
President Biden on Feb. 4 issued an Executive Order requiring project labor agreements (PLAs) on large-scale federal construction projects. “When big construction projects are completed efficiently and with the highest degree of professionalism, it’s good for the American taxpayer,” President Biden said at a Maryland event making the announcement. “That’s not hyperbole; that’s a fact.” PLAs, which have been used for generations, are collective bargaining agreements between building trades unions and contractors. They govern terms and conditions of employment for all craft workers—union and... Read More
guidance released on Feb. 10, the Federal Highway Administration suggested the use of the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Training Program (EVITP) in its implementation of the electric vehicle charging infrastructure buildout.   The 30-page memo is a result of the recently enacted bipartisan infrastructure law, which includes the goal of putting the United States on the path to a nationwide network of 500,000 electric vehicle chargers by 2030. At an announcement event in Washington, D.C. with Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigeig and Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, speakers... Read More
On the campaign trail and throughout his presidency, Joe Biden has promised to be the most pro-union, pro-worker president in history. As President Biden celebrates his first year in office, his actions are matching his words.   “President Biden has taken significant and historic steps to promote, protect, and enhance the rights of working people, including IBEW members,” President Stephenson said in a statement citing a long list of first-year accomplishments:   Appointing a union member to lead the Department of Labor   Creating the first-ever White House Task Force on... Read More
Modernizing the electric grid. Decarbonizing transportation. Investing in the future. Good job opportunities for Americans. All are moving forward with the passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the largest infrastructure law in generations – and with it jobs for IBEW members in nearly every branch. On Facebook Live, President Stephenson and U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos, who represents President Stephenson’s hometown of Rock Island, Ill., recently discussed the bright future of the nation’s infrastructure – and the union workforce that the bill will put to work.   President... Read More
Witnessing History:  With the stroke of the pen, alongside more than 10 IBEW members and a bipartisan group of lawmakers at the White House on Nov. 15, President Biden made official one of the biggest infrastructure investments in U.S. history.   Its size and scope ensures that it will rebuild both the country’s weakened infrastructure and the middle class. Touching nearly every sector of the U.S. economy, the bill was touted on a level comparable to the construction of the transcontinental railroad in the late 19th century and the interstate highway system in the 1950s.   “I... Read More
In a welcome reversal from past administrations’ attempts to stifle the power of unions in the federal sector, the Biden administration is actively encouraging more worker participation in collective bargaining. “We are proud as the Biden Harris administration in what we believe we will be, which is the most pro-union administration in the history of America," Vice President Kamala Harris said on Oct. 20 announcing the new guidelines. Among them are: Including bargaining unit status and union affiliation in job announcements Giving unions the opportunity to share information... Read More
After nearly five years without a confirmed leader, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is headed by worker safety advocate Doug Parker.   “Finally after 1,747 days, @OSHA has a champion for workers right as its director,” said AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler. “Doug Parker will advocate for safe working conditions for all and hold employers who violate workers’ right accountable.”   Parker, who headed California’s division of occupational safety and health for the past two years, is likely to increase the agency’s inspectors and enforce its anti-... Read More