Congressional action is key to maintaining nation’s technology edge

Dorsey Hager,  Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Columbus/Central Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council, penned an op-ed for the Columbus Dispatch urging Congress to pass legislation to protect the nation’s technology sector, which he believes can help create a rebirth of U.S. manufacturing and good union jobs. 

In the column, Hager argued Congress must take legislative action to accelerate innovation by the nation’s leading technology companies to sustain economic opportunity and maintain a competitive edge against China.

“If they fail to do so, it will not be possible for the tech sector — and the jobs it creates — to avoid the same fate American manufacturing has faced over the last several decades,” Hager wrote.

He believes the recent steps taken by Congress to invest in American semiconductor technology and domestic chip production are certainly encouraging, but it is only the beginning.

“Our country’s most innovative technology companies are a driving force of the economy and job creation,” Hager wrote. “Organized labor and our trained workforce are ready to meet the challenge and continue to rebuild the middle class. It’s time for Congress to align on this effort and the realities of the 21st-century innovation economy.”

Unions’ role in the rebirth of American manufacturing

Unions are ready to rebuild America’s middle class — and in doing so, address global supply chain shortages and protect the nation’s national security, Hager argued.

He pointed to Intel’s decision to invest $20 billion in a semiconductor chip facility outside of Columbus as a prime example.

“These investments in Ohio’s innovation economy are grabbing headlines for many worthy reasons,” Hager wrote. “They will bring 3,000 company tech sector jobs to central Ohio and will help alleviate national security concerns by reducing U.S. reliance on chips manufactured abroad.”

The technology sector creates more than just computer jobs. The building trades play an integral role rebuilding the middle class in this country, Hager wrote.

The construction jobs created for the Intel project are a game changer for Ohio, as the average yearly wages on this project could exceed $100,000, and some journeymen may earn as much as $175,000.

“The jobs pay the industry standard with health and pension benefits so that workers can take care of their families and then retire with the dignity and financial security they deserve at the end of their careers,” he said.

The technology sector in Ohio alone employs over 400,000 and has an estimated direct impact of $35 billion on Ohio’s economy — and that does not even count the indirect impact of the sector. Those numbers will only continue to grow.

Hager argued it is critical for organized labor to embrace the reality of the future and recruit the workforce necessary to obtain it.

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