AFL-CIO Joins $10 Billion Effort for Jobs, Infrastructure

The AFL-CIO said it will work with investors and businesses to help funnel $10 billion during the next five years into construction work that will create jobs.

The AFL-CIO, the largest U.S. labor federation, will join financial institutions, pension funds and money managers to promote infrastructure development, and pledged at least $20 million to retrofit buildings over the next 12 months, according to a union statement today.

“We, at the AFL-CIO, believe that together, with our partners in business and government, we can profitably invest significant resources to make America more competitive and energy efficient,” President Richard Trumka said in the statement released at the Clinton Global Initiative in Chicago.

The AFL-CIO will work with companies such as Deutsche Bank AG (DBK), Johnson Controls Inc. (JCI) and other financial entities to generate as much as $10 billion in new funding. The project will set up accounts to help lure investments from pension funds and money managers, AFL-CIO officials said.

The effort by government, business and labor will encourage pension funds to invest in infrastructure and job creation, the officials said. The AFL-CIO estimates at least $10 billion in workers’ capital held by funds will be invested over five years for infrastructure modernization.

“The time is now to become intensely focused on the creation of jobs, and America’s Building Trades Unions are ready, willing and able to work with any and all partners to map out a multi-year plan of infrastructure investment,” Mark Ayers, president of the Building and Construction Trades Department, AFL-CIO, which coordinates with national and international unions, said in the statement.

$2.64 Trillion

Assets held by the 100 largest government pension funds grew 5.5 percent to $2.64 trillion at the end of 2010 from three months earlier, the U.S. Census Bureau reported on March 31. The increase was 5.9 percent in the third quarter.

The AFL-CIO said the infrastructure plan will promote investment, make buildings more energy efficient and expand worker training related to construction. The plan seeks to train 40,000 apprentices in specialty welding, as well as upgrading and certifying 100,000 mid-career construction workers over the next year, according to the statement.

The Chicago meeting will include more than 700 business, non-profit and government leaders such as U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, and Republican governors Haley Barbour of Mississippi and Mitch Daniels of Indiana, according to the organization’s website.

Trumka was slated to give a speech at the event, until a foot injury forced him to cancel the appearance, Alison Omens, a spokeswoman for the union, said in an e-mail.

To contact the reporter on this story: Stephanie Armour in Washington at sarmour@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Liebert at lliebert@bloomberg.net.

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