Membership Voting Power: How Midterm Elections Affect Labor by Paul Canning
As we prepare to turn the calendar to 2019, we must look ahead to the next wave of labor and employment issues and the legislation that will impact them.
The power of OUR MEMBERSHIP casting a ballot for someone that believes in what we do is exactly why voting is so important – it’s part of our work to keep our members employed. Our votes elect the decision makers.
The results of the midterm elections will bring more attention to key labor issues that will affect our membership, but passing legislation in a divided Congress will be difficult. We may even see gridlock for the next two years while everybody positions themselves for 2020.
Since Democrats won a majority in the House, workers can expect a number of laws on the agenda to benefit Labor. This includes worker-friendly issues like increased overtime pay, promoting workplace unionization, wage theft prevention, paid family leaves, protection of our union rights and the hot-button issue: immigration.
Although the Democrats don’t control the Senate or the White House, the House will likely try to move forward with legislation that will affect labor once the new Congressional session begins in January 2019.
Infrastructure legislation, including the construction and maintenance of roads and bridges, is one area where the House and the Senate may agree. Infrastructure building boosts economic growth, and the Bureau of Labor and Statistics recently reported they expect construction to be one of the fastest growing industries in the next several years with an expected 4.5% annual growth rate.
Both sides are saying they want to see progress on infrastructure: the umbrella term for very large public construction projects. Hopefully, both the House and Senate will find common ground which will help our industrial painters and bridge painters moving forward. Other growth areas include residential construction, office, and commercial construction which will help our commercial painters, drywall finishers and the glazing industry.
One of the issues that come with growth is having skilled tradesmen and apprentices available to fill the needs of our Signatory Contractors. This is a good problem to have.
With our aggressive new Residential Program for Residential Painters and Residential Drywall Finishers, this is a great opportunity to organize new members and organize new contractors.
I would also like to take this time to wish everyone a happy Holiday season and a healthy and prosperous New Year.