Redmond: BIT Transforms Skylines, Communities, Lives


AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Fred Redmond delivered the following remarks as prepared at a Building Investment Trust event held at the Wolf Point South construction project:

Thank you, Randy, for inviting me here today and for your leadership at the AFL-CIO’s Building Investment Trust, and to everyone here for your support of this project.

Walsh Construction for your commitment to the highest standards of quality and safety.

To the Joseph P. Kennedy Family and Hines for investing in and developing high-road projects like this one. This partnership makes our communities healthier and stronger.

And, most importantly, I want to thank you, my brothers and sisters, for sharing your lunch break with us. The work you do every day is a testament to the quality and value of union construction, and will be for generations to come.

It’s good to be back home. In one of America’s great labor cities.

I grew up not far from here. My parents moved up to Chicago from the Mississippi Delta to build a better life. But it wasn’t easy. They worked hard. Long hours. They had an unbreakable work ethic, but still we were poor. We went to the free clinic. We lived on food stamps.

Then my dad got a job at the Reynolds aluminum mill in McCook. It was a good union job and it changed everything. We had more security—opportunity—prosperity. No more trips to the free clinic. No more food stamps.

Every worker should have the chance at a good union job. That’s why the work of the Building Investment Trust is so important.

It is an investment vehicle for pension plans that creates quality union construction jobs. Working people investing in working people. All while offering the more than 250 pension funds invested in the BIT a strong return on investment, spurring economic development in cities like Chicago.

Investments in projects like this one at Wolf Point doesn’t just transform skylines. It transforms communities. It transforms lives.

In Chicago alone, construction investments made by the BIT has:

  • Generated millions of hours of construction work.
  • Created thousands of permanent jobs in the service sector on completed properties.
  • And generated hundreds of millions of dollars in state and local tax revenue.

In all, these investments have supported nearly $4 billion of total economic benefit.

This is the power of connecting labor’s capital to the broader community.

When labor and community work hand in hand, we create more security. More opportunity. More prosperity.

And we forge the kinds of partnerships that will pay dividends for years to come. For America’s working families, our communities, and for the greatest of cities.

Thank you.