Washington, D.C. – May 26, 2021 – North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU) President Sean McGarvey issued the following statement on the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act:

“Recently, Congress has focused its attention on a critical issue for American competitiveness and national security by considering legislation that would counter China’s dominance in semiconductor manufacturing.  In a rare show of bipartisanship, this legislation has worked its way through committee and is ready to be passed by the Senate and sent to the House.  North America’s Building Trades Unions support this critical investment in American competitiveness.

“Unfortunately, over the last two weeks, this legislation has garnered opposition from a handful of Republican Senators whose central point of contention is the wages construction workers will receive to build this highly sensitive and critical infrastructure.  It appears that Senators Mike Lee of Utah, John Cornyn of Texas, Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Roger Wicker of Mississippi proposed strategy to best China in semiconductor production is to simply cut the wages of proud, patriotic American construction workers who will do whatever it takes to increase America’s semiconductor production.

“Our industry is ready to compete for the future, yet these Senators seem intent on waving the white flag of surrender to China and other adversaries of the United States, all because they think construction workers in their states and throughout the country are paid too much for their hard work. Their focus on ideological fights of the past will only cede the future to countries like China and Russia and once again undermines their claims of being the party of ‘blue collar’ workers. We, along with a bipartisan majority of Congress, reject the notion that construction workers need to take a pay cut for America to outcompete any country.

“The U.S. Innovation and Competition Act is about fortifying our national security resources, creating jobs and reinforcing domestic supply chains. It’s time for all Senators to meet the moment and pass this bill, not derail it with long-settled policy debates on construction workers’ wages.

“Rejecting any amendment that seeks to lower the wages of construction workers will send a strong signal on Congressional priorities, keep us focused on the job before us, and empower the best resource America has to win this timely competition – the American worker.”