In a recent op-ed for The Hill, Congressmen Donald Norcross (D-NJ) and David McKinley (R-WV) announced a new bipartisan effort to better represent America’s skilled trades workers in the halls of Congress. Both men come from trades backgrounds, with Norcross having been a union electrician in New Jersey and McKinley touting 50 years of experience in the construction field. The pair believes their experience gives them “the unique understanding of what America needs and where we need to go.”
As members of the newly minted Congressional Building Trades Caucus they hope to advance the agenda of tradesmen and women. From their letter:
The 6.6 million Americans across our nation who work in construction need strong partners who are working on their behalf. In Congress, as we follow this new and united blueprint for the future, we’re also tearing something down—the traditional labels associated with labor and business. Neither should be claimed as a value solely of the Republican or Democratic parties. These are core American issues. We know that. So now that we have our own foundation, we can build.
Norcross and McKinley laid out their vision for the Congressional Building Trades Caucus and how it will attempt to meet the future needs of the construction industry:
As always, an educated and skilled workforce is a critical component to our success. For us as lawmakers, that means “thinking outside” the traditional classroom setting to promote and support ideas like skilled apprenticeships which are the avenues to the very jobs that are the engine to our nation’s success.
Together, we will advocate for the building trades, a trusted and reliable source of labor for businesses, big and small. The trades represent diverse individuals from across the United States, our family and friends, who apply their talents using their hands and minds in a variety of fields–from carpenters and pipefitters, to electricians and ironworkers. The jobs they report to every day are what put America to work and keep America working.