The Southeast Laborers fight for issues that affect their members, their families, and their communities. By making America stronger, fairer, and sustainable, we will secure a bright future for the middle class and our children.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill is crucial to our Nation’s infrastructure.
The American Society of Civil Engineers rated the condition of our nation’s bridges with a C+ and roads received a D.
LIUNA members build America, from our roads and bridges to our transit systems. However, the transportation system that was once the envy of the world has now fallen into disrepair, putting lives at risk and jeopardizing our economic competitiveness. Roads and bridges are also chronically under-invested in, each year falling billions short of what is needed.
- Nearly a fourth of all bridges are deficient or obsolete, while poor road conditions contribute to a third of all traffic fatalities.
- The U.S. economy is dependent on surface transportation. $1 of every $10 of the gross domestic product is tied to the transport of goods and people. Yet, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 170,000 miles of our roads are in poor condition.
- Bringing our highways up to par would create more than 1 million jobs a year and leave behind real assets for future generations.
- Based on figures from the U.S. Department of Transportation, an annual $17 billion investment to make our bridges safer could spur the creation of 476,000 jobs.
Learn more about LIUNA’s “Getting Schooled in Infrastructure” campaign by clicking here.
LIUNA Members Build Energy Systems from Natural Gas Extraction to Solar Panels.
LIUNA members assist in the construction and maintenance of power plants and substations, digging trenches for lines and backfilling, road repair after line installation, and supporting infrastructure such as oil and gas pipelines. Members also have skills in new technologies and are trained installers of solar panels, wind turbines, and green roofs, as well as building retrofit specialists and energy auditors.
Reshaping America’s Energy Future with Jobs for the 21st Century
The U.S. will continue to be dependent on a variety of energy resources, including coal, oil, natural gas, wind, solar and nuclear power.
LIUNA supports an “all-of-the-above” energy policy.
- Becoming less reliant on oil from hostile nations by developing North America’s energy resources will improve our economy, create jobs, and strengthen national security.
- Oil and natural gas – which supply 62 percent of our energy today – will provide much of the energy we need in the decades to come and are important components of the “all-of-the-above” approach.
- A balanced and comprehensive energy policy must include the expansion of our nation’s pipeline infrastructure.
The solution to climate change is comprehensive climate change legislation
- LIUNA has been on the forefront of supporting climate change legislation with carbon reduction targets as high as any other union. However, attempts to derail energy production project-by-project, as some in the environmental movement advocate, won’t impact climate change and will only stall creation of desperately needed jobs.
- LIUNA opposes extreme environmental measures that undermine U.S. economic growth, harm working families and place ourselves at a disadvantage to other nations.
Investing in energy development is long overdue and has the potential of creating hundreds of thousands of jobs
- The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) awarded U.S. energy infrastructure a D+ in 2013 and found a $107 billion investment gap in our electricity infrastructure. Closing the gap would save American businesses $126 billion, prevent the loss of 529,000 jobs and avert $656 billion in personal income losses by 2020.
- Modernizing and upgrading America’s electric transmission system alone could create an additional 150,000 to 200,000 jobs every year over the next two decades and make energy delivery more efficient and reliable.
- With responsible development of America's own vast domestic resources, the natural gas and oil industry could create 1 million new jobs over the next seven years
We are a nation of citizens. Citizenship unites us and can strengthen our unions.
LIUNA was founded more than a century ago by proud immigrants and we continue to work for fair treatment of immigrant workers in this nation. LIUNA will continue to fight for comprehensive immigration reform and will not stop until it gets done.
Temporary Protected Status and DACA
LIUNA supports continuation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which temporarily defers deportation for approximately 1.9 million eligible undocumented youth known as Dreamers. Dreamers came to the U.S. and made their lives here, and they and their families deserve a path to citizenship. LIUNA also supports legislation to allow workers covered by the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program to have a path to citizenship. During the Trump Administration, TPS was terminated for El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua and other nations. About thirty percent of TPS holders work in the construction industry. They build America every day and deserve a path to citizenship.
LIUNA urges the full Congress to pass legislation to support Dreamers and help TPS recipients. The U.S. House of Representatives has passed H.R. 6, the Dream and Promise Act which will help Dreamers and TPS recipients. There are two bills pending in the Senate: S. 306 the SECURE Act (TPS) and the Dream Act, S. 264 (Dreamers).
Guest Worker Programs
The H-2B guest worker visa program allows employers to hire guest workers to fill temporary “seasonal” jobs. Construction and landscaping are two of the top industries employers use to hire H-2B workers. Many contractors that use H-2B visas falsely contend that they are unable to fill vacancies because U.S. workers are unwilling to do these jobs. In reality, employers often turn to the H-2B program to avoid paying U.S. workers fair wages, by using guest workers who they can exploit.
The H-2A agricultural visa program is also being misused to hire construction and landscape workers from other nations to come to the U.S. even though that visa program is not supposed to be used for construction workers. LIUNA's advocacy recently succeeded in securing new rules that will prevent employers from bypassing local workers to use H-2A visa to hire construction workers.
LIUNA has hiring halls and training centers in hundreds of U.S. cities and has been helping local workers and underserved communities start careers in construction for 116 years.
As cities and localities have increasingly struggled with urban area unemployment despite economic growth and expanded job opportunities, LIUNA has ramped up efforts to train local workers and joined with social justice allies to push for progressive legislation to create good jobs for local residents in cities around the country.
- In Nashville, a LIUNA-led coalition won a ballot measure to promote local hiring on city funded projects.
- In Miami, LIUNA championed a Residents First policy that gave priority to hiring Miami-Dade residents when building major city improvements.
Wage theft is a rampant problem in the non-union construction industry, and it drives down standards for all workers.
Wage theft is the unlawful withholding of wages or benefits due to an employee. It can take many different forms – from illegal “deductions” from an employee’s pay to outright not paying an employee at all. LIUNA has worked to expose these unscrupulous employers and win back pay in cases across the country.
Violation of Minimum Wage, Overtime and Prevailing Wage Laws
LIUNA and allies in the social justice movement have found many instances of contractors not paying the legally mandated wages due; including ignoring the federal or state mandated prevailing wage on construction sites, having employees work “off the clock,” or paying the regular rate for overtime hours.
Incorrectly classifying an employee as an independent contractor is a pervasive problem in the United States. Employee Misclassification costs the states and federal government billions of dollars annually, in addition to leaving millions of workers without protections and benefits. In its last comprehensive review, the IRS estimated that about 15 percent of employers misclassified a total of 3.4 million employees, resulting in an estimated revenue loss of $1.6 billion. The U.S. Department of Labor has found that 10-30 percent of employers audited had misclassified employees.
Misclassified workers are denied many workplace protections and benefits that they are entitled.
- Misclassified workers do not have overtime wage and hour protections.
- Misclassified employees must pay self-employment taxes on top of their personal income taxes.
- If a misclassified employee is injured on the job, the worker may have difficulty accessing workers’ compensation and laid-off workers may not be eligible for unemployment compensation.
- Misclassified employees do not receive benefits such as health insurance or paid holidays.
Illegal deductions are a form of wage theft in which an employer takes money out of an employee’s paycheck either for something they should be providing or some other item that is not a lawful charge to the employee.
Prevailing Wage, or Davis-Bacon laws, prevent contractors from undermining the wages and benefits of local workers and ensures that workers on publicly funded projects are paid at least the same wages as other workers in the area. This prevents employers with the lowest bid from bringing in low paid, low skilled workers from out-of-state. Prevailing Wage keeps local tax dollars working in the community through the hiring of highly trained and skilled local workers.
- Prevailing Wage laws prevent contractors from undermining the wages and benefits of local families.
- Prevailing Wage bolsters local economies by increasing tax revenues and local purchasing.
- Prevailing Wage supports in-state contractors and builds local middle-class jobs while driving economic development.
- Prevailing Wage creates an incentive to make contractors more efficient and productive.
Support Davis-Bacon/Prevailing Wage laws and acts in your area! Supporting prevailing wage laws means that you support building local economies, support building local middle-class jobs, and help create incentives for contractors to be efficient and productive.
The “Right to Work” laws dictate that unions must represent every eligible employee, whether he or she pays dues or not. “Right to Work” does away with the union security clause, an agreement that requires all workers who receive the benefits of a collective bargaining agreement to pay their share of the costs. In other words, “Right to Work” laws allow workers to pay nothing and still receive all the benefits of union membership. These laws are designed to weaken collective bargaining strength and ultimately destroy the union movement.
- “Right to Work” laws are unfair to union members who pay their dues.
- “Right to Work” does not guarantee anyone a job and it does not protect against unfair firing.
- Workers in states with “Right to Work” laws earn lower wages, approximately $5,300 less per year.
- “Right to Work” states spend less on education.
- “Right to Work” states have higher workplace fatality rates.
Union members should vote against “Right to Work” laws. Stand up for your right to work in safe environments and earn better pay.