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Commentary
Investing in infrastructure is the key to our nation’s future

From the Minneapolis Labor Review, September 25, 2021

By Chelsie Glaubitz Gabiou, President,
Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation

As the years continue to tick by, we are observing a generation of workers leaving the workforce and a new generation quickly becoming the overwhelming majority.  Solidarity across generations has never been more important as we envision a future of work that improves the lives of all families.

This new generation of workers have inherited some challenging economic factors. We’ve had several decades of increased productivity, but only to experience wage stagnation, a decline in unionization, skyrocketing healthcare costs and few investments in retirement security. Labor protections that were won and sacrificed for in previous generations have eroded. We are facing a racial reckoning that pits workers against each other in their workplaces and in their communities. We are seeing a sharp increase in natural weather disasters, disrupting entire industries and tearing down entire towns. And of course we are still weathering a global pandemic of historic proportions.

As history has shown, when we provide an ambitious, inspiring vision for our future, we can make it happen. We have changed the course of history in the past and we can do it again. The time is now to envision a strong, resilient, healthy future for our families and shoot for the moon once again.

As we pursue investments in infrastructure, it is important to center workers and families
— not corporate profits and and interests.

Our country has used these historic infrastructure investments to propel us forward into the future over and over again. It is part of why the American Dream is so powerful.

We are coming together in cross-racial solidarity and cross-generational solidarity to make a once-in-a-generation investment in our infrastructure future. Collectively, we are re-imagining the infrastructure network across this nation that holds us together.

Physically, it’s the roads and bridges that connect us to work and school. It’s the pipes that deliver clean drinking water. It’s the electrical grid that powers our homes and hospitals. It’s internet, light rail, solar power, water filtration, irrigation, air filtration, and recycling technology. Young people are imagining the future of our physical infrastructure, constrained only by the limits of their imaginations. This type of infrastructure will propel us into the future all families deserve.

Workers are central to this physical infrastructure every step of the way — from invention and design, to construction, to operation and maintenance. As we pursue historic investments in infrastructure, it is important to center workers and families — not corporate profits and interests.

Generations before us have benefited from innovative infrastructure and this new generation of workers are ready to embrace our shot at the moon.


Chelsie Glaubitz Gabiou was re-elected December 11, 2019 to a second four-year term as president of the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation, AFL-CIO.

Contact MRLF president Chelsie Glaubitz Gabiou at 612-321-5670 or chelsie@minneapolisunions.org.

 



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