Working people across the United States have stepped up to help out our friends, neighbors and communities during these trying times. In our regular Service + Solidarity Spotlight series, we'll showcase one of these stories every day. Here’s today’s story.
The CHIPS and Science Act, signed into law today by President Biden, not only boosts domestic manufacturing jobs in critical technology sectors but also mandates for the first time that unions and our members be at the table as the federal government invests billions in innovation research and economic development.
“The science title of this bill boosts critical research funding for the National Science Foundation and other agencies, and directs the foundation to incorporate labor organizations into its ‘programmatic work’ as stakeholders,” said Amanda Ballantyne, the director of the AFL-CIO Technology Institute. “With these changes in law, we will see a different paradigm emerge in the federal research enterprise—one that invites workers and unions into the innovation process and incentivizes federal grant applicants to collaborate with labor and workforce training organizations.”
The Technology Institute, launched in 2021 as a recommendation of the AFL-CIO Commission on the Future of Work and Unions, is a hub for development of new strategies, including policy reforms around technology and the future of work. The institute has advocated for a change in how the federal government directs research and economic development investments, Ballantyne said, “with a focus on securing unions as official stakeholders, enhancing good job creation requirements, and using these federal programs to advance critical racial and economic justice objectives.”