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Union Pension capital creating jobs for construction workers

09.20.11

SEPTEMBER 2011 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

Union Pension capital creating jobs for construction workers

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, August 30th- The American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) labor federation, Housing Investment Trust (HIT) are attempting to put union construction workers back to work. Unemployment among union construction trades remains at levels not seen since the Great Depression. HIT created more than 10,000 union construction jobs during the past two years, and set a new goal of reaching 15,000 jobs by year end 2012.

The HIT has implemented a Construction Jobs Initiative to put union workers from hard-hit construction industry back on the job. The initiative was first adopted in mid-2009 with the support of the AFL-CIO and their Building and Construction Trades Department. The program utilizes union pension capital for high credit quality fixed-income investments. All of the projects are 100 percent union built, and 60 percent of the 9,932 housing units produced under the jobs inititive will be affordable to low-to-moderate income families.

Since it was established in 1965, the HIT has invested more than $6.2 billion in developments that have created more than 101,000 housing units and 69,000 union construction jobs.

“The HIT is investing union pension capital to create jobs for union construction workers on projects that help communities grow. It’s one of the ways unions are supporting America’s economic recovery,” stated Mark Ayers, President of the Building and Construction Trades Department (AFL-CIO).

Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO stated the HIT investments has helped many construction workers stay employed during the economic downturn.

“The HIT’s investments are a win-win for working people and their communities. At a time when construction activity has been at a virtual standstill because many lenders have withdrawn from real estate development the HIT is financing new projects that will help cities and towns spur economic development and strengthen their communities,” said Mr. Trumka.

The AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust is a fixed-income investment company registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission. It manages over $4 billion in assets for approximately 350 investors, which include union and public employee pension plans.

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