The Laborers' International Union of North America is one of the most progressive and strongest unions in the country. Over 500,000 strong, LIUNA is the eighth largest labor organization in America, representing a skilled and diverse workforce. Laborers are construction workers, government workers, health care providers, industrial employees, service workers, and educators.
Many Bloomington-Normal area Laborers joined Illinois Governor Pat Quinn at their union hall Thursday, August 14 as he announced that the state's unemployment rate had dropped to 6.8% for the month of July, down from 9.2% a year earlier in July 2013. LiUNA! Vice President and Midwest Regional Manager John F. Penn introduced the governor to the crowd at the press conference. Gov. Quinn spoke about the importance of quality construction and manufacturing jobs in Illinois. To read more about the event, click here.
President Obama just signed into law the bill that allows veterans to seek private care outside VA facilities, and provides money for the VA to hire more doctors and nurses. This effort came after reports that some veterans had waited months to get care from the VA. To read more about the legislation, click here.
This week, members of Congress acted on two big issues for Veterans. The Senate confirmed former Proctor & Gamble executive Robert McDonald as Secretary of the Veterans' Administration, replacing Acting VA Secretary Sloan Gibson, who took over after Eric Shinseki resigned in May.
In addition, Congress reached a last-minute deal on funding for the VA. Part of the plan will allow Veterans who live more than 40 miles away from a VA medical facility or have had a wait time of more than 30 days for an appointment to see a private doctor, which will be paid for by the government.
Follow our Laborers' Midwest Region Military Veterans Facebook page for Veterans' news and updates!
The US Senate yesterday passed a slightly different version of Highway Trust Fund “patch” than the House did two weeks ago. The patch involves using federal (non-gas tax) revenue to make up for what the gas tax did not bring in over the last two years.
This week, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed into law an additional $1.1 billion for road and bridge improvements for Fiscal Year 2015 (July 1, 2014-June 30, 2015). That brings the statewide program for the fiscal year up to $2.9 billion. IDOT has now incorporated those state projects into their FY 2015 project list to create a comprehensive list, which can be viewed here.
Retired Laboer Curt Ralston, a member of Local 751 in Kankakee, IL, recently received the Illinois AFL-CIO Robert G. Gibson Community Service Award for his work restoring the Kankakee River.
In May 2014, 30 Laborers who had served in the armed forces between 1950 and 1953 and their guests toured historical sites, national monuments and LiUNA! International Headquarters in Washington, D.C.
The "Getting Schooled in Infrastructure" school bus tour continued to Springfield, IL on July 14. In sight of the state Capitol, Laborers and other community leaders spoke in support of additional federal funding to repair our nation's roads and bridges.