Youngstown labor leaders praise infrastructure bill

YOUNGSTOWN — Valley labor and state Democratic Party leaders on Friday celebrated passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and discussed what it means for communities like Youngstown.

They said the legislation will create good-paying jobs and rebuild Ohio’s crumbling infrastructure.

Ohio Democratic Party Chair Elizabeth Walters and Youngstown workers participated in the Building Ohio Together Tour, organized by the Ohio Democratic Party and For Our Future Ohio.

The bipartisan bill, they said, will create good-paying jobs and help Ohio businesses grow by investing in roads, bridges, public transit, water pipes and high-speed internet. This, they noted, will help communities like Youngstown compete on a global stage.

Participating at the Youngstown Historical Center of Industry and Labor were Walters; Marty Loney, Western Reserve Building Trades president; Jose Arroyo, United Steelworkers staff representative and vice president of Trumbull County Political Affairs at Mahoning / Trumbull AFL-CIO.

“The bipartisan infrastructure bill includes strong Buy America rules for taxpayer-funded infrastructure and public works projects. This means American-made iron, steel and manufactured products would be required for federally funded infrastructure projects. That’s great news for growing good-paying union jobs, and that’s why we are here in Youngstown,” Walters said.

Ohio is expected to receive $9.2 billion for highways and $483 million for bridge replacement and repairs. The state also is expected to receive $1.2 billion to improve public transit. The White House said Ohio is expected to receive $100 million in broadband funding, including providing high-speed internet access to at least 259,000 Ohioans who lack it.

Ohio is expected to receive $1.4 billion over five years to improve water infrastructure across the state and approximately $253 million for infrastructure development for airports, according to the federal government.

“When Chinese- or Russian-made steel are used instead of American products, it steals jobs from U.S. workers. American taxpayer dollars should go towards American-made products. With these strong Buy America rules in the bipartisan infrastructure law, we are going to make sure that we rebuild our bridges and highways and create good-paying jobs with American-made products,” Loney said.

“This bill is a win for workers and it’s a win for our country to be able to compete against China. But we must go further. As the economy reopens, big corporations have taken advantage by raising costs and squeezing Ohioans. Build Back Better will take this head-on and lower the cost of health care, make child and elder care more affordable and put money in the pockets of working families,” Arroyo said.


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