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May 29, 2012

Letter to the Editor: Rebuilding our infrastructure should employ our workers

My name is Ron Piksa, president of the Northwest District Council of Ironworkers and international vice president.

The Iron Workers District Council of the Pacific Northwest has produced an eight-minute video showing just how much America has become dependent on foreign labor, being paid with our tax dollars. You can watch it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hc73JwGwyPE

Rebuilding America's infrastructure is a fundamental step toward igniting our economy. This critical investment will expand local business and create thousands of jobs for skilled workers in our local communities.

Or will it? Unfortunately local trends to outsource elements of bridge and other major infrastructure projects threaten American business opportunities and jobs — a too common reality for American workers. That is the reason I am contacting you today: to urge your readers to prevent this trend from taking hold.

The video illustrates graphically the consequences of decisions made by local leaders to ship portions of local capital projects off shore. As infrastructure investment funds become available in our area, we urge decision makers to invest American taxpayer dollars in American jobs.

North American manufacturers and fabricators have the facilities, skills, manpower and the competitive pricing to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure. On behalf of the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers, which represents hundreds of businesses and thousands of workers in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska, we ask for your support and welcome opportunities to discuss this vital issue in further detail.

— Ron Piksa

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