Opinion: Wisconsin Workers Have ‘the Opportunity to Build Middle-Class, Unionized Careers’

August 8, 2023

By Johntay Young


During my years as an industrial painter here in Wisconsin, I’ve spent many hours repairing the specialty coatings that protect the integrity of the steel on our bridges and water towers, ensuring they remain safe for the public.

But a lot of our infrastructure here in Wisconsin, from Milwaukee to Chippewa Falls, has gone unrepaired since it was installed decades ago, particularly in economically disadvantaged communities. That disinvestment not only has physical impacts, such as children developing lead poisoning from old pipes; it also has psychological impacts to see your community fall into disrepair around you.

Over the past two years, though, Wisconsin has seen the biggest influx of funding for community infrastructure in my lifetime. The infrastructure investments pushed forward by the Biden Administration and passed by Congress in 2021 are already having a huge impact on communities in our state, particularly areas that have been ignored by infrastructure investments and workforce development programs for decades.

The union careers being created by these funds are not only going to sustain a lot of Wisconsin families for years to come, but are in the process of reviving the economies of whole communities.

Click here to read the entire op-ed in Up North News