Labor federation pushes to finance commercial building retrofits

June 29, 2011 09:10AM

The AFL-CIO plans to work with pension fund managers to ensure that at least $10 billion in union pension money is made available to fund infrastructure projects in the next five years, the New York Times reported. Richard Trumpka, president of the labor federation, is expected to announce the plan at a meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative in Chicago today.

Union officials said they intend to work with Deutsche Bank and other financial institutions to come up with financing to retrofit large commercial buildings. Building owners are hesitant to do such retrofits themselves because they are already highly leveraged, they said.

“America’s construction workers need work and want to work,” Trumpka is expected to say, according to his prepared remarks. “Never in modern times has so much construction work needed to be done.”

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers and the leader of a group of public sector unions in the AFL-CIO that is studying the issue, said: “The nation has over $2 trillion in infrastructure and social needs, and there is over $3 trillion in public sector pension funds…The question is, are there financially prudent ways to invest working men’s and women’s capital to create jobs and rebuild America’s infrastructure?” [NYT]