Bipartisan infrastructure law a boon for Wisconsin pipe trades

By Terry J. Hayden
President, Wisconsin Pipe Trades Association

Terry J. Hayden

As President of the Wisconsin Pipe Trades Association, I know how the highly skilled Wisconsinites who work in plumbing, valves, HVAC service and fire sprinkler assembly play a vital role in the operation of our homes, businesses and entire communities. And now, thanks to President Joe Biden’s passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act, Wisconsin’s pipe trades are poised to see a massive influx of new projects and jobs.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Act solves some of the biggest problems facing our country and state by rebuilding our roads and bridges, making high-speed internet easily accessible, and ensuring clean water is a right in all homes.

Overall, the Infrastructure Act will bring Wisconsin $841 million in federal funds dedicated to clean water efforts. The funding will not only replace lead hookups, but will also upgrade water filtration systems to ensure water from public wells is free of harmful chemicals. The distribution of these funds is already effective. In 2022 alone, Wisconsin will see $142 million in federal dollars spent on water infrastructure projects. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Act is not an empty promise for federal action, we are already seeing funds flowing into our state that will make a real difference in our communities.

Replacing lead service lines isn’t just a public health issue, infrastructure projects are a boon to Wisconsin’s economy. For years, Governor Tony Evers has offered funding to ensure clean drinking water and replace lead pipes in the state. With this federal funding, the Democrats’ goal of making clean water a right in every home can finally become a reality. Overhauling the state’s lead service lines will create countless jobs for plumbers, who are poised to tackle Wisconsin’s 176,000 remaining lead pipelines. Every lead service line represents a job for Wisconsin plumbing workers, who are now on the front lines of our state’s clean water efforts.

The Infrastructure Act doesn’t just create jobs, it creates well-paying jobs that treat workers with the respect they deserve. The majority of funds in this legislation are subject to requirements that ensure workers are paid a fair and decent wage. The Wisconsin Pipe Trades Association is made up of eight Wisconsin local unions and we know that unions are the backbone of our state’s economy. I can’t stress how important it is to have Biden in the White House and Evers in the governor’s office to defend unions. This law will set a precedent in our state that protects the dignity and rights of our Wisconsin workers.

The infrastructure law is a big win for workers in Wisconsin. This will create new jobs, ensure that workers receive decent wages, and ensure that every child in our state has access to clean water. Wisconsin’s pipe unions and trades are extremely grateful to have Biden, Senator Baldwin, and Reps. Kind, Moore, and Pocan get this infrastructure law across the finish line. I am grateful that we have leaders like Biden and Democrats in Congress who pushed this deal through and delivered it to Wisconsin unions and the pipe trades. And we are grateful to have Evers to allocate federal funds and advocate for our state’s workers. The Infrastructure Act will be a watershed moment in the history of Wisconsin’s pipe trades and represents a bright future for our industry and our workers.

Source link