Information About The Stimulus Bill Concerning The Building Trades - (2/23/2009)
It is no secret to our members, families, neighbors and country that we are living in the worst economic times since the Great Depression. Unemployment in Rhode Island is at its highest level in over 35 years and Massachusetts has seen workers being laid off at a pace faster than the national average. For Local 51 and others in the building trades, we are seeing unemployment at much higher levels than almost all other sectors of the economy. Nationally, 1.7 million building trade workers are currently out of work. Clearly we are in a crisis.
While there is no easy solution, and the road back to recovery is going to take years, President Obama is taking unprecedented steps to try to repair our nation’s plight. As you are aware, he recently signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, legislation that aims to fix our ailing economy, by investing in key areas that will save or create jobs immediately. It is estimated that in Rhode Island and Massachusetts alone, nearly 91,000 jobs will be saved or created as a result of this legislation.
The $787 billion allocated for stimulus, will be used in areas such as education and training, state and local fiscal relief, health care, infrastructure repair and development, energy and tax relief. Additionally, it will help our most vulnerable citizens who have been seriously affected by these times, by expanding unemployment benefits, food stamps and Medicaid services.
While not perfect, the bill does listen to the concerns of organized labor in a number of ways. First and foremost, it invests in fixing our ailing roads and bridges, as well as funding for outfitting public buildings with new “green energy” efficiencies. It is expected that these components alone will create 700,000 construction jobs within the next 18 months. It also requires that all federal money from the stimulus comply with prevailing wage laws, and that all construction material be made in America.
There is also money in the bill that allows for our membership to get the proper training and education for working on new LEED projects. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design is where public and private buildings are going and if we can get the proper background on these new technologies, then we will certainly have the advantage when work becomes available.
Lastly, the bill provides for tax relief for 95% of working families. Expected to begin by April, the average U.S. family will keep an extra $65 each month in their pay check.
To learn more about the President Obama’s stimulus bill, as well as to see how it’s being distributed and used, go to www.recovery.gov
Author of Article ~ Rick McAuliffe, The Mayforth Group http://www.mayforthgroup.com/index.html
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