The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) was created by Congress and signed into law by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1933 as part of the New Deal that brought our nation out of the Great Depression. Over the ensuing eight decades, the TVA has provided numerous benefits to the nation and its service region, including the creation of good-paying careers, the provision of reliable and affordable energy, and the injection of economic development into neighboring localities.
Many workers who are employed at the TVA are represented by unions. Over the years, the AFL-CIO affiliates who represent these employees and the management at TVA have worked together to create new expansion opportunities for the authority which, in turn, creates new job opportunities for union members throughout the Tennessee Valley.
While the TVA was established by the federal government, it does not receive any congressionally appropriated monies. Rather, its functions are fully funded by its ratepayers, and no taxpayer money is needed to support the TVA.
However, certain federal grant programs that should have been available to the TVA have excluded the authority from eligibility. This practice has been based on the erroneous notion that the TVA acts as a federal agency that receives federal appropriations and therefore would not qualify for these federal grant programs.
Most recently, the Department of Energy awarded grants for the construction of modular nuclear reactors but, based on past precedent, did not consider the TVA as an eligible grantee. This decision not only continued the erroneous practice of misclassifying the TVA, it also prevented the Department of Energy from considering one of the most reliable, efficient, environmentally conscious and pro-union energy providers from participating in the grant process.
Therefore, the AFL-CIO resolves to work with the Biden administration and its pro-union, pro-clean energy allies in Congress to correct this situation by designating the TVA as an entity that is eligible to apply for and be awarded federal grants. Allowing the TVA to participate in these grant programs will support our nation’s clean energy goals while advancing the Biden administration’s commitment to union members