Minn. Worker’s Congressional Testimony Illustrates Power of Public Investment in Green Jobs to Reduce Inequality
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Veronica Puentes, a manufacturing worker from Crookston, Minn., testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on the Budget, sharing how public investment through the bipartisan infrastructure bill and her union job gave her a second chance at life.
“My life has not always been easy. My parents were migrant farm workers. I became a mother and struggled with addiction issues at a young age,” Puentes shared with the Committee. “I was fortunate enough to land a job at New Flyer and I owe it all to God and our union. Our union has been instrumental in providing me with a second chance.”
As Congressional Republicans threaten to shut down the government at the end of the month unless they are allowed to slash the budget, Puentes offered powerful testimony to protect critical investments made through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) because so many are benefiting from the good union jobs created by the investments from these laws.
“Thanks to the incentives and investments provided by the IIJA and IRA, our facility has been busy filling orders for electric buses for transportation systems across the country and workers no longer stress about losing their jobs,” Puentes testified. “I am a prime example of how unions can be a life-changing opportunity for someone struggling to get by. Congress must ensure that all jobs created through federal investment are union jobs that will provide workers with a good quality of life.”
New Flyer was named the partner of choice in over $200 million in competitive grant awards through the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) 2023 Low-or No-Emission (Low-No) and Buses and Bus Facilities (BBF) programs, funded by the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The company’s facility in Crookston, Minn., employs 300 union workers represented by the Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 7304.
Watch Ms. Puentes’ testimony before the U.S. Senate Committee on the Budget.
Ms. Puentes’ full testimony is available here.
About CWA: The Communications Workers of America represents working people in telecommunications, customer service, media, airlines, health care, public service and education, manufacturing, tech, and other fields.