The International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers welcomes the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) newly released implementation memo on water infrastructure funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL). America’s crumbling infrastructure has impacted the U.S. health and environment for years. EPA’s memo charts a path for State Revolving Funds (SRFs) to fix the water infrastructure while creating good union jobs.
As the memo states, BIL is an opportunity to invest in the American worker. EPA calls on states to include support for registered apprenticeships, collective bargaining, local hire and community benefit agreements in their water infrastructure agreements. These practices will provide pathways of opportunity to many working-class Americans. The agency also encourages the use of project labor agreements on infrastructure projects to deliver the best value to the taxpayer.
EPA also highlights the improved domestic procurement language in the BIL. The agency will help SRFs put the Office of Management and Budget’s upcoming Buy American guidance into practice. Greater use of American steel and concrete in water infrastructure will create good jobs all the way up the supply chain.
This is the first time EPA has addressed quality jobs and collective bargaining in its recommendations to state revolving funds, and it reinforces the Biden administration’s commitment to empowering workers. The White House Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment’s report highlighted EPA water programs’ potential to help labor—it is good to see the agency acting on the task force’s recommendation. This whole-of-government support for American workers is unprecedented.
The 128,000 members of the Iron Workers look forward to working with EPA and SRFs to get these infrastructure projects built on time and under budget.
IW Statement on EPA BIL Water Memo