Saint Paul, Minnesota — As Minnesota develops public policy to transition to a reliable, carbon-free energy future, Minnesota construction trade unions representing 70,000 union construction professionals, are advocating for secure, reliable, accessible and cost-affordable energy to ensure the long-term success for Minnesota workers and communities.
“We need a strong, statewide strategy for investments in reliable energy that leaves no Minnesotan behind,” said Harry Melander, President of the Minnesota State Building and Construction Trades. “Building Trades members are building and maintaining a state-of-the-art, leading-edge energy infrastructure critical to our state’s future.”
“Our union members’ voices need to help shape a thoughtful path forward to build the best energy future possible,” said Joel Smith, President and Business Manager, Laborers District Council of Minnesota and North Dakota. “Trades unions will continue partnering with industry, government, and advocacy groups to maintain safe energy infrastructure operations while supporting a smooth transition over the coming decades — with a keen focus on creating new living wage jobs for our members.”
“Climate change must be addressed with investments in the operations, maintenance and repair of Minnesota’s energy infrastructure. The loss of good-paying union construction and maintenance jobs will hit Minnesota’s communities hard,” said Luke Voigt, Business Manager of Boilermakers Union 647. “However, we need a strong plan so that we can reduce the economic impact on Minnesota communities and legacy energy workers while delivering the reliable and affordable energy that Minnesotans require in the years to come.”
Minnesota’s Energy Infrastructure Priorities
Building an energy infrastructure that benefits all Minnesotans will require thoughtful planning, strategic investments, and critical policy decisions in the years to come. The Minnesota State Building and Construction Trades Council has identified eight critical energy policy priorities upon which to guide that process. These priorities include:
- Climate change must be addressed.
- Investments must be made in the operations, maintenance and repair of Minnesota’s current energy infrastructure.
- Investments must be made in the development and deployment of technologies such as solar, wind, nuclear, hydro-electric, carbon capture and utilization, battery storage and low carbon and electrified transportation.
- Investments must be made to increase energy efficiency in industrial, commercial and residential buildings, retrofit and upgrades to schools and public buildings, and to make our built environment safe and resilient.
- All work in the legacy, renewable, and energy efficiency sectors must be performed by the safest, most highly trained, skilled workers in Minnesota.
- Minnesota’s prevailing wages, labor and licensing standards are critical to successfully building the infrastructure for our clean energy future.
- A clean energy beneficial transition plan must address legacy energy workers and communities and ensure that all workers and communities are safe and respected.
- Energy must be reliable, accessible, and affordable.
“Minnesota’s energy infrastructure work is complex, and it will continue to evolve over time,” said Melander. “Our state needs to use the expertise of our construction trades professionals today, so we have the infrastructure in place 20 to 30 years from now to meet the energy needs of future generations.”
To learn more about Minnesota’s energy infrastructure priorities, visit www.mntrades.org/energy.
About the Minnesota State Building and Construction Trades Council
Representing 70,000 skilled union construction professionals working in 15 trades, the Minnesota State Building and Construction Trades Council (www.mntrades.org) is focused on growing a diverse and inclusive construction industry workforce, protecting the physical and financial health of construction workers, and advocating for increased public and private investment in construction and infrastructure.