3 Major Wins for Workers in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Package
On November 15, 2021, President Joe Biden signed the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) into law. The new law will invest $1.2 trillion in rebuilding crumbling roads, bridges, and public transportation systems; supporting advanced energy technologies and clean water infrastructure; closing the digital divide; and modernizing the electric grid. These investments will create hundreds of thousands of good construction and manufacturing jobs that pay decent wages and benefits; are located in the United States; and have the potential to increase access for women, workers of color, and LGBTQI+ Americans.
The United States urgently needs more high-quality jobs. While the tight labor market is pushing employers to increase wages across the private sector and unionized workers are increasingly leveraging their collective power to demand better work, these temporary pressures are not enough to overcome decades of wage stagnation and worsening work conditions. Recent analysis from the Economic Policy Institute finds that while net productivity grew by nearly 62 percent over the past four decades, average hourly pay for the typical worker increased by just 17.5 percent.
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