The Keystone Research Center (KRC) and ReImagine Appalachia are proud to co-sponsor a webinar on Wednesday, September 27 at 1 pm EST for a powerful new book release, The Way We Build: Restoring Dignity to Construction Work. Written by Mark Erlich, a former Executive Secretary Treasurer of the New England Region of Carpenters, the book was sparked in May 2021 during the KRC convening on the “Future of Work” in the construction industry that Mark helped plan and facilitated. Mark’s presentation on the book will be followed by brief comments from Patricia Smith, Special Assistant to the U.S. Secretary of Labor; Rob Bair, President of the PA Building and Construction Trades; and Akbar Hossain, Secretary of Policy for the Shapiro Administration.
The book analyzes why union density declined in U.S. construction starting in the 1970s and the resulting growth of low-wage and, increasingly, cash economy jobs. Critically, the book also focuses on solutions. Erlich analyzes how to reverse the erosion of job quality, restore middle class jobs and boost skills and productivity in ways that will also benefit contractors and construction customers. Increased inclusivity within construction trades and their apprenticeship programs, public policy including strong labor standards and their enforcement, union organizing, and marrying use of new technology with skilled workers must all play their part in restoring dignity to construction. In conjunction with the event, KRC will also release a “Cliff notes” summary of the book that also hones in on what states can do to create the future we want in construction, in Pennsylvania, other coal-country Appalachia states, and across the country.
We hope you can join us!
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