In 2011, the American labor movement made a pledge to the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) to raise $10 billion over the following five years to invest in the nation’s crumbling infrastructure and to boost the sagging job market. Yesterday, two years ahead of schedule, that pledge was fulfilled.
Speaking at this year’s CGI conference in Denver, President Bill Clinton announced the $10 billion goal had been achieved and said the labor movement “demonstrated tremendous leadership in thinking about how to get America back to work—and demonstrated a commitment to doing that.”
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said:
The labor movement committed to respond to two great crises facing America—the jobs crisis and the infrastructure crisis, by working with our members’ pension funds to move investment capital toward funding job-creating infrastructure, while at the same time training the skilled construction workers needed to get the job done. The goal was high-road construction jobs; solid, steady returns for our members' pension plans; and enhanced competitiveness for American communities through everything from energy-efficient retrofits to high-speed Internet access.
AFT President Randi Weingarten said the union movement’s investment “shows what can happen when creative and innovative thinking is applied to America's most pressing challenges.” She added:
Not only are union members committed to providing vital public services to communities across the country, we are equally committed to helping create jobs and rebuild America.
Joining Trumka and Weingarten at the ceremony were Sean McGarvey, president of the AFL-CIO Building and Construction Trades Department, North America’s Building Trades Unions, and AFSCME President Lee Saunders.