The New York Times this morning previews an appearance by AFL-CIO President, Richard Trumka, at Bill Clinton’s Clinton Global Initiative event in Chicago. Trumka, joined by Building and Construction Trades Department President, Mark Ayers, will announce a $10 billion dollar, five-year investment of pension funds in infrastructure projects that put people to work. From NYT:
A.F.L.-C.I.O. officials said they planned to work with Deutsche Bank and other financial institutions in the hope of coming up with hundreds of millions of dollars to retrofit large commercial buildings. Many building owners are hesitating to do such retrofits because they are highly leveraged and do not have the cash to make the investments. The A.F.L.-C.I.O. hopes its $10 billion will provide an incentive for banks and hedge funds to develop financing vehicles to make such projects happen.
The investment in construction is not new to either the AFL-CIO or the Building Trades unions. The highly successful Housing Investment Trust has much to show for its efforts in 2011, with an 18 city project that created 10,000 jobs and 9,000 housing units and a St. Louis-specific project which created another 600 jobs.
Energy-efficient retrofits, including work on the AFL’s Washington D.C. headquarters, will also be announced. Last year, the Empire State Building completed the retrofitting of windows, enabling 38% less energy consumption and $4.4 million in annual savings.
In addition, a commitment to “work with community colleges and the government to train 40,000 new apprentices in specialty welding and other skills for energy-efficient projects” will be announced. The Building Trades unions alone have 250,000 apprentices in joint-labor management programs.