Construction Jobs Create Permanent Careers

As the debate over building the critical energy infrastructure of America continues, some are denigrating the hard work of proud, skilled LIUNA members in order to win political points.

Extremist environmentalists have attacked the jobs that are created by natural gas and oil pipelines as “just temporary jobs.” Even President Obama, chuckling at pipeline job creation claims, downgraded the importance of the work we do by labeling it just temporary.

It is true union construction projects don’t last forever because once they are complete, we don’t generally tear the project down and build it again. Either these critics are very poorly informed about the construction industry or they are cynically deceitful.

What is not being said is that while most construction projects only provide work until they are complete, the structures and economic development they leave behind are permanent. The Hoover Dam, the Empire State Building, the Golden Gate Bridge were all temporary jobs. And even more important for each of us, construction work creates permanent careers. The training that construction crafts workers receive and upgrade for each job allows us to move from project to project, supporting families, paying mortgages and building middle-class lives.

Each of us in this “temporary” sector of our economy adds 5 to 9 percent annually to our nation’s gross domestic product – that’s more than a half-trillion dollars a year. Those dollars are paychecks which quickly circulate through communities, stimulating more job creation. It’s one reason the President and others consistently tout infrastructure projects – almost certainly consisting of “temporary” jobs – as the best way to grow our economy.

The job of building America – our cities, energy systems, roads, bridges and transit systems – is not temporary work. It is what made us America the great and continues to create lasting assets and a legacy for generations to come.

Anyone who insults that work or the men and women who do it has insulted America. They should be ashamed of that kind of politics and keep in mind that political jobs from Congress to the White House can also be temporary.

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