CWA Broadband Brigade Members Continue Push for Good Jobs
As state and local governments deploy American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds and finalize plans for $65 billion in broadband funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), CWA Broadband Brigade members and local activists are mobilizing to ensure states use these funds to create good union jobs.
In Michigan, members released a new digital advertisement featuring CWA Local 4009 member James Dennis. He explains the importance of using well-trained local workers for broadband infrastructure projects and encourages viewers to ask state officials to devise high-quality broadband deployment plans. These plans should ensure federal funds go toward building durable infrastructure and generating quality jobs.
“With this historic funding, Michigan has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to not only bring reliable internet service to thousands of residents, but to create good, local jobs in the process,” said Linda L. Hinton, Vice President of CWA District 4. “Now is not the time to rely on low-road contractors that lack adequate safety training, which puts the state at risk for the buildout to be done haphazardly. Michigan needs to use these public dollars to hire a well-trained, local workforce to ensure broadband is deployed equitably, safely, and properly so it can provide Michiganders with reliable service for generations to come.”
In Delaware, CWA Local 13101 President Mike Watson joined Governor John Carney to celebrate progress on broadband expansion in the state and preview next steps. “CWA members are proud to have played a role in Delaware’s successful use of ARPA funds to connect an additional 6,000 Delaware homes and businesses to high-speed internet,” said Watson. “This is just the start. With an additional $107 million in federal funds from the bipartisan infrastructure bill, Delaware can ensure that everyone in our state has access to reliable, high-speed internet services. And by setting high labor standards for broadband infrastructure projects, we can make sure it is done right and create good, family-supporting jobs in the process.”
Delaware Local 13101 President Mike Watson with Governor John Carney and Delaware Broadband Office Executive Director Roddy Flynn at a news conference celebrating progress on broadband expansion in the state.
In Texas, the City of Dallas adopted CWA’s labor standards in the recently released request for proposals (RFP) for the Dallas Broadband and Digital Equity Strategic Plan, which includes $43 million in federal funding from ARPA to provide high-speed internet access to underserved communities. These standards incentivize companies to include plans for using a directly employed, appropriately skilled and credentialed, local workforce, as opposed to a subcontracted workforce; paying prevailing wages and benefits; and taking steps to prevent the misclassification of workers.
Activists from CWA Local 6215 and the CWA District 6 Legislative-Political team worked tirelessly to urge the City of Dallas to adopt labor standards for broadband buildout that would create more good union jobs with high safety and training standards.
In San Antonio, Texas, Geronimo Guerra, President of CWA Local 6143, is working to expand internet access and quality jobs and serves on the board of the Ready to Work partnership which helps connect workers with jobs and training opportunities in high-demand occupations. Last week, Guerra participated in a Department of Labor roundtable discussion with U.S. Acting Secretary of Labor Julie Su focused on how to ensure that federal investments support equity, job quality, and worker organizing to create good union jobs for Latinx workers. He shared CWA’s national commitment to building pathways to good careers in broadband for people from underrepresented communities.
Guerra told Administration officials, “The funding for building out broadband is going to help make sure that unserved families in Texas communities, who are disproportionately Latino, will have the opportunity to access job opportunities, health care services, and educational resources that are out of reach without high-speed internet access.”
Geronimo Guerra, President, CWA Local 6143 (center) speaks at the Department of Labor in Washington, D.C.
This post originally appeared on cwa-union.org.