Arlington, Texas, Local 220 member Samran Khampeth, a Siemens breaker plant foreman, attended a high-level White House meeting.
Vice President Kamala Harris convened the small event on March 10 with Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, IBEW President Kenny Cooper and Assistant to the IBEW President for Government Affairs Austin Keyser. It marked two years since the Biden-Harris administration created the workforce organizing task force and marked Walsh’s last official appearance as labor secretary.
Co-chaired by Harris and Walsh, the White House Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment interviewed workers nationwide, producing a 43-page report of recommended actions and underlining its whole-of-government approach to making the protections of labor unions more accessible to workers.
Under the Biden administration, the Department of Labor continually emphasizes protecting workers’ ability to engage in collective bargaining. As a result, the Biden DOL has recovered more than $520 million in back pay and protected the pensions of millions of workers and retirees.
Biden administration officials also highlight employers like Siemens, which is ramping up domestic manufacturing to feed the growing demand for electric switchgear used in data centers, electric vehicles and semiconductor manufacturing.
“President Biden and Vice President Harris have always stressed the importance of building things in America again,” Khampeth said. “Siemens has been leading the way, investing millions of dollars in American worker training and hiring. That includes new plants to fill the need for the infrastructure components we make.
“I am proud to work for Siemens, a company playing such a big role in bringing good union manufacturing jobs back home,” she said.
Siemens has two IBEW-represented plants, the Texas breaker facility and one outside Los Angeles, where the company will break ground June 9 on a new $94 million hub that will replace the Pomona plant. The expansion will add 100,000 square feet of production capacity and create over 120 new local union jobs.
The new Pomona facility will serve as a key U.S. manufacturing hub for electrical products that support critical infrastructure markets, including data centers, electric vehicle charging, semiconductors, and more.
IBEW and Siemen’s officials joined President Biden last March to announce the investment to support infrastructure modernization and EV deployment thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.