Sometimes it’s easy for the dysfunction on Capitol Hill to become overwhelming, overshadowing important work being done every day in communities across the nation to ensure that working families and people have what they need to thrive.
In just the last few weeks BlueGreen Alliance staff in Ohio and Wisconsin have attended and helped organize important events focused on protecting hard earned pensions and ensuring access to clean, safe drinking water.
In Ohio, Regional Program Manager Lee Geisse attended an event hosted by President Joe Biden focusing on the administration’s work to protect pension plans. Geisse was honored to be among the crowd of union members in attendance for the president’s speech in Cleveland.
“We’ve seen the risk millions of workers face as they watch their hard-earned pensions turn into broken promises,” Biden said. “We saw it before the pandemic and the economic crisis that followed. Millions of retirees were at risk of losing their retirement security, through no fault of their own, based on conditions and unrelenting attacks on unions that were taking place.”
The president went on to note the inclusion of a pension protection provision included in the American Rescue Plan, which he signed into law March 11, 2021.
Just days after the president’s speech in Ohio, BlueGreen Alliance Midwest Regional Field Organizer Richard Diaz organized an event in Milwaukee celebrating federal investments in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) that will ensure Milwaukeeans have safe, clean drinking water. The event was attended by White House Senior Advisor Infrastructure Implementation Coordinator Mitch Landrieu, Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI), and Mayor of Milwaukee Cavalier Johnson.
The event included a site visit of an active lead service line replacement project in Milwaukee staffed by LiUNA workers. At a press conference hosted alongside the event, Landrieu, Moore, and Johnson were joined by the union workers, the President of the WI AFL-CIO, UA, and Milwaukee resident Deanna Branch, a member of the Coalition on Lead emergency (COLE) and a mother whose two sons have suffered from lead poisoning. Following the press event, Diaz facilitated a round table discussion on the City of Milwaukee’s efforts to combat childhood lead poisoning, highlighting lead paint remediation and lead pipe replacement. The conversation consisted of the Milwaukee Health department, Milwaukee Water Works, State of Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, State Building Trades Council, the Office of Governor Tony Evers, residential union contractor Green Homeowners United, and community based organizations serving frontline communities. The discussion framed the sense of urgency of the crisis, but also spoke to the potential for the creation of good-paying union jobs doing the important work of replacing the city’s lead pipes and lead abating homes.
“All across America this work is actually getting done,” Landrieu rightly said at the press conference.