United States Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona laid out the Department of Education’s priorities for 2023 during a Raising the Bar event in January — including a new focus on helping students achieve careers in the jobs created by the CHIPS Act, the Inflation Reduction Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. SMART attended the event and applauds the Department of Education’s commitment to helping students secure good, union jobs in our industries.
Tag: CHIPS and Science Act
New chip plant megaprojects continue to create jobs for SMART sheet metal workers across North America – including in Arizona, where huge projects have led to unprecedented job growth and a boom in the membership of SM Local 259 (Phoenix, Ariz.)
“We’ve been able to increase our membership. In 2017-18, we had 500 members, and we currently have about 850, so it’s created a lot of organizing opportunities for us,” said Jeff Holly, Local 359 business manager and financial secretary-treasurer, during a recent interview with SMART News. “All of our funds are super healthy – health and welfare, pension funds, down to general fund activity at the hall. … It’s helped out the membership a lot.”
In Chandler, Ariz., an Intel chip plant is expected to employ more than 300 sheet metal workers at its peak and continue for two to three years. And in Phoenix, Taiwanese Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) – the world’s largest manufacturer of advanced microchips – is building its first major U.S. production site, more than tripling its initial planned investment. The project currently employs over 400 sheet metal workers and is expected to last for three to five years.
These chip plant projects specifically benefit SMART sheet metal workers, Holly explained.
“Everything’s got to be super clean, there’s a lot of filtration that goes into [chip plant construction] – a lot of scrubber work, exhaust, so they’re fairly labor intensive for sheet metal workers,” he said. “Most of the duct they’re using is rather large, so it ends up [requiring] more people than we used to use.”
The chip plant projects in Arizona mirror similar developments across the continent, including in Ohio, upstate New York and more. Like in Arizona, such projects provide opportunities not only for SMART sheet metal workers, but for locals aiming to organize, grow their membership and expand their market share. And while the Arizona chip plants were underway before the passage of labor-friendly legislation like the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Inflation Reduction Act and the CHIPS and Science Act, Holly told SMART News that such laws will benefit SMART members moving forward.
“Since the CHIPS Act was enacted,” he said “we’re looking at the possibility of having our first large-scale project labor agreement being signed out at the TSMC project, which is something that the Arizona State Building Trades has never had really any success [with]. Even though these weren’t planned when these acts were enacted, I think they’re going to pay dividends in the very near future.”
Whether chip plants, data centers, electric vehicle battery plants or infrastructure jobs, megaprojects are expected to continue breaking ground across the United States and Canada in the near future. Members interested in traveling to work these jobs should visit the Sheet Metal Job Bank for more information.
Megaprojects in the News
- Governor Declares Kentucky the US ‘EV Battery Production Capital’
January 11, 2023
- TSMC triples Arizona chip plant investment, Biden hails project
December 7, 2022
- TSMC to up Arizona investment to $40 billion with second semiconductor chip plant
December 6, 2022
- Giant Intel semiconductor plant in Ohio to create economic ripple that will reach the Miami Valley
WHIO TV 7
September 7, 2022
- 7,000 construction workers are needed for Ohio’s largest economic development project
August 22, 2022
President Biden delivered his second State of the Union address on February 7, 2023 – outlining the ways in which the Biden administration’s economic plan is delivering results for working families. SMART issued the following statement in response:
“On the campaign trail and during his first State of the Union speech last year, President Biden made big promises: substantial infrastructure investment for the first time in decades, the return of manufacturing to America, and an economy that works from the bottom up and the middle out, not the top down. Now, two years after the president’s inauguration, we can say that the Biden administration is delivering on those promises.
“President Biden signed legislation like the American Rescue Plan, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the CHIPS and Science Act and the Inflation Reduction Act into law: saving hundreds of thousands of union pensions, providing the most significant investments into our country’s infrastructure and semiconductor production in generations, and making the largest American investment in clean energy ever. These investments have already put thousands of SMART sheet metal members to work, and they will drastically improve the health and working conditions of our Transportation Division members across sectors.
“Since President Biden took office, more than 200 companies have announced private investment in manufacturing, utilities and energy to the tune of $700 billion, across all 50 states. Our members are already working these jobs, from solar panel production facilities in New York to data centers in Arizona.
“And after two years of President Biden’s agenda, the American economy has created more than 12 million jobs, with an unemployment rate of 3.4% – a 54-year low.
“But, as the president made clear in this year’s State of the Union, there is more work to do. We look forward to working with Congress and this administration to end the anti-worker corporate scheme that is Precision Scheduled Railroading. And we call on Congress to pass a billionaire minimum tax, which will finally see the one percent pay their fair share and ease the damaging impact of inflation for working families; expand the Child Tax Credit, which will lift more children and families out of poverty; extend the Inflation Reduction Act’s price cap on insulin to all Americans; and pass the Protecting the Right to Organize Act, which will make it easier for workers to form a union.”
Two years of pro-worker policy have led to a wealth of opportunity for SMART sheet metal workers, now and into the future. Across the country, companies are once again investing in American manufacturing: building and maintaining facilities for electric vehicle batteries, data centers, semiconductor production and more — all of which require the expertise of SMART members.
I just appreciate SMART leadership and the Biden administration doing what needed to be done to get the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law passed, because we really needed this in all of our communities to build back the working class.”
SMART Local 83 members have worked for years on a GlobalFoundries chip plant in Malta, N.Y. Now, thanks to the passage of the CHIPS and Science Act, GlobalFoundries is building an entire new building to expand its existing plant — a development Local 83 Business Manager Frank Maguire said will keep members “very busy for the next five to 10 years.” In addition, Local 83 members will help build the first wind turbine facility in the U.S., located in the Port of Albany.
“We have a very bright outlook for sheet metal workers in the Albany, New York area,” Maguire added.
SMART members in the Southwest Gulf Coast region can also look forward to a bounty of new work in the coming years, including a Meta data center ($30 billion of work); a Samsung project ($207 billion of work); a Texas Instruments semiconductor project in Sherman, Texas ($30 billion of work); and the next phase of a Tesla plant.
“This is the most work for our members in 20–25 years, and it’s creating good-paying, union construction jobs,” said SMART Southwest Gulf Coast Regional President Bill Kenyon. “I just appreciate SMART leadership and the Biden administration doing what needed to be done to get the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law passed, because we really needed this in all of our communities to build back the working class.”
The surge in megaprojects extends beyond the United States’ borders. In Canada, a $4.9 billion battery plant in Windsor, Ontario, will require 10 million pounds of galvanized duct to be manufactured in Toronto. That duct will then be installed by SM Local 235 members in Windsor.
“We’re hoping to get all the sheet metal work on the whole project, plus all the roofing,” said Michael Mahon, business manager/financial secretary-treasurer of the Ontario Sheet Metal Workers and Roofers in Windsor. “It’ll employ anywhere from 300–500 sheet metal workers and roofers.”
And in the Kansas City, Mo. area, SMART Local 2 workers will be called to work on two large data centers in the near future: a two-million-square-foot Meta data center and a $4.9 billion Panasonic battery factory in Kansas. That’s in addition to a biomedical facility in Manhattan, Kansas, to be constructed in conjunction with the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) that Local 2 members have worked on for the last five years. All told, these projects will bring an unprecedented number of jobs to area SMART members.
“We think [the Panasonic project] is going to be one of the largest projects that’s ever been done in Local 2’s jurisdiction,” explained Local 2 Business Manager Greg Chastain.
These megaprojects exemplify the historic progress that SMART has made in the last two years — and we will continue to organize to build our strength as we move into the future.