Pres. Biden Says IBEW ‘Critical’ to Energy Transformation

Pres. Biden Says IBEW ‘Critical’ to Energy Transformation

Five years ago, Joe Biden addressed the IBEW Construction and Maintenance Conference while running for president. Months later, he became the 46th President of the United States, in part because of support from the IBEW.

On April 19, President Biden returned to the conference to celebrate the historic policies he championed for the IBEW, a union whose construction membership is the largest in its history thanks to these laws and Biden’s support of good union jobs. 

“It’s fair to say in the last four years, there’s been more excitement and energy than ever for all the work you’re doing,” said Biden to the cheering crowd. “I know because I see you all across America as I go across the country.” 

While the administration’s infrastructure investments are putting IBEW members on jobs with labor standards like prevailing wages, the sector is seeing challenge as well as opportunity.

Construction and Maintenance Department Director Matt Paules told the more than 1,500 attendees, the union needs more members. More members to satisfy the demand for industrial power, AI data centers, solar projects, high-speed rail, offshore wind, semiconductor factories, battery plants, modular nuclear reactors, a nationwide electric vehicle charging network, and electrical substation, distribution, and transmission lines.

IBEW President Kenneth W. Cooper said 2023 was a historic year for construction, and 2024 is likely to break even more records. Cooper challenged members to do their part to capture the trillions of dollars worth of work on the way.

“There are more opportunities for the IBEW to be bigger than ever,” Cooper said. He described the coming work as a “tidal wave” that demands serious organizing.

Just as important as organizing, however, is talking to members about the upcoming election. 

“None of these jobs would exist without President Biden and Vice President Harris,” Cooper said. “I’m calling on you as a leader to go out and do everything you can to reelect them.” Assistant to the President Austin Keyser agreed. “Joe Biden is the most pro-union president in the history of the United States,” Keyser told the audience. With four more years of his administration’s partnership, the IBEW can continue to rewrite the rules of the economy to favor unions. “Re-electing Biden-Harris is not just how we hold onto these wins. It’s how we keep winning.”

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