A 30-year LIUNA member, Curtis values the camaraderie and brotherhood on union job sites. On the job, he’s a fan of the small chipping gun. Off the job, he’s heavily involved in his local church.
LIUNA represents the power of unionism...
…a power that helps workers negotiate contracts that fairly compensate them for their labor; a power that connects the industry’s most skilled and versatile workforce to top employers in the region; and a power that sets standards that benefit us all. Each day, close to 45,000 men and women go to work in New York City, Long Island, New Jersey, Delaware, and Puerto Rico. Our backgrounds may be different, the work we do may be different, but what unites us all is a belief that working together works best. We are LIUNA Eastern Region!
"Let's leave our great International Union better, stronger, larger, tougher, and more powerful than any time in our entire history."
General President, LIUNA
Inaction comes at a cost.
The United States underfunds its transportation infrastructure and we all pay the price:
- One quarter of America’s bridges are deemed structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.
- Potholes alone cause $80 billion a year in vehicle damage.
- The average commuter will spend 54 hours a year stuck in traffic.
Even the American Society of Civil Engineers has concern about the state of our transportation infrastructure, offering dismal grades in its Infrastructure Report Card.
- Roads: D
- Bridges: C+
- Transit: D-
- Aviation: D
These infrastructure deficiencies cost American families an average of $9 every day. Yet, an investment of just $3 a day, per family, would cover the cost of modernizing and repairing our infrastructure to make it safe and useable for everyone.”
With fatality rates almost three times higher than the all-worker rate, construction is a dangerous industry. Last year 1,008 workers died from construction related injuries. This makes up 19.1% of all workplace fatalities in the United States.
We MUST do better.
LIUNA backs up its commitment to safety through training, education, and its nationally recognized safety and health fund. Investing in occupational safety matters, and unions are leading the way. Sadly, with weak regulations and enforcement, not every worker in the construction industry is afforded a safe workplace. In New York, for example, some 87% of all construction fatalities were on non-union worksites. In 2018, there were 69 deaths in New York alone, or almost six deaths a month. What other occupation would we be okay with six workplace deaths in just one industry every month? Could you imagine the outcry if we were losing six teachers or six nurses every month?
The federal, state, and local governments must do more to raise safety standards and hold irresponsible contractors to account. Particular attention must be paid to protecting the industry’s most vulnerable workers—the immigrant, non-English speaking, non-union workforce. In many cases, because of their undocumented status, these workers are afraid to report health and safety (and wage and hour) violations on the job. Unscrupulous contractors prey on their vulnerability, which puts them at great risk.
Stronger laws, better enforcement, stricter penalties. All workers deserve safe workplaces.
From natural gas extraction to solar panel installation, LIUNA members build energy systems.
Building the energy infrastructure of tomorrow requires wise policy decisions today. LIUNA supports a smart transition to renewable energy—one that considers both the numerous issues that connect energy use to the environment, quality of life, and the economy; and policy matters including resiliency, affordability, and reliability.
LIUNA members assist in the construction and maintenance of power plants and substations, digging and backfilling trenches for lines, road repair after line installation, and supporting infrastructure such as natural gas pipelines. LIUNA members also support green energy technologies and are skilled installers of solar panels, wind turbines, and green roofs; and are trained as building retrofit specialists and energy auditors.
In the Eastern Region, renewables account for less than five percent of all utility scale electrical generation while natural gas is the primary source for nearly 90 percent of all electricity (Delaware) and more than 50 percent (New Jersey). Moreover, up to 75 percent of all homes use natural gas for home heating. All of this points to the need for a carefully thought out transition away from natural gas. Where one wants to go with energy policy may not be as important as how one gets there. Climate change is real and so are the challenges of properly transitioning our entire public and private energy infrastructure.
Investing in energy development is long overdue and has the potential of creating hundreds of thousands of jobs.
- The American Society of Civil Engineers 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.
- Modernizing and upgrading America’s electric transmission system would create an additional 150,000 to 200,000 jobs every year over the next two decades and make energy delivery more efficient and reliable.
- A balanced and comprehensive energy policy must include the expansion of our nation’s pipeline infrastructure.
America’s water infrastructure is slowly failing us and the time for action is now.
From drinking water and wastewater systems to inland waterways, levees, dams, and other flood control measures, we need a comprehensive plan to modernize and repair our water infrastructure, as well as a way to pay for it.
- The US Environmental Protection Agency’s 6th Drinking Water Infrastructure Needs Survey and Assessment shows $472.6 billion is needed to maintain and improve the nation’s drinking water infrastructure over the next 20 years.
- According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, there are an estimated 240,000 water main breaks per year in the United States.
- More than two trillion gallons of treated drinking water are wasted each year because of broken water mains and supply lines.
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. As it is, our current immigration policy is failing both citizens and immigrants.
LIUNA supports comprehensive immigration reform that includes an earned path to citizenship for undocumented workers.
- Workers who pay taxes and contribute to their communities and whose only crime is lacking documents deserve a chance to earn U.S. citizenship.
- An earned path to citizenship should be realistic and achievable by those who have the ambition to become U.S. citizens. A lengthy waiting period, onerous penalties and a cumbersome bureaucracy should be avoided or reform will fail.
Labor standards must be enforced to protect workers’ rights so that immigration does not depress wages or working conditions.
- Our current immigration system allows unscrupulous employers to engage in wholesale worker exploitation, using fear of deportation to cheat workers out of wages or cut corners on safety.
LIUNA is opposed to guest worker programs in the construction industry.
- The H-2B Visa program is a guest work program which permits U.S. employers to employ foreign workers for nonagricultural “temporary” work when no qualified U.S. workers are available.
- However, the program has been criticized for lax requirements that allow employers to largely bypass the U.S. hiring process, exploit immigrant workers, and deprive U.S. workers of job opportunities.