Press Statement

Press Statement: Biden’s ‘Good Jobs’ Initiative Essential to Appalachia’s Economic Transition

By February 9, 2022No Comments


Contact: Virginia Alvino Young




Appalachia — A cornerstone of the Biden administration is the creation of good jobs with the free and fair choice to join a union, and the Good Jobs Initiative will help agencies deliver on that promise as they implement the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. 


“ReImagining and rebuilding Appalachia the “right” way, in a way that maximizes their benefit to the region and builds local wealth, invests in our environment and new climate infrastructure initiatives, requires the creation of good union jobs and building pathways into those union jobs for Black workers, women, other people of color and the many low-wage workers throughout the region,” says Ezra Thrush, Senior Director of Government Affairs for PennFuture. “The Biden Administration demonstrates its commitment to these principles by adopting community and labor standards for how federal taxpayer dollars are to be spent.” 


We expect recent announcements to be just the beginning of how the Biden Administration plans to do development differently: 

  1. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides a big boost in funding for surface transportation infrastructure projects. The law’s Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) program has up to $1.5 billion available for states, cities, or other transportation authorities. This is the first discretionary funding program to accept applications as directed by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. In this round of funding, DOT seeks to support projects that create good-paying jobs while promoting community/labor training partnerships that target underrepresented populations for these opportunities while offering them a chance to join a union and earn family-sustaining wages. 


  1. On Monday, the Biden administration announced that $725 million would be allocated by the law for 2022, creating good-paying union jobs and catalyzing economic activity by reclaiming abandoned mine lands (AML). This remarkable increase in funds, nearly 5 times higher than the $149 million distributed by the AML program in 2021,  is thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law which included the nation’s largest-ever investment in cleaning up decades-old abandoned coal mines by authorizing the Abandoned Mine Land (AML) Program and providing an additional $11.3 billion for abandoned mine cleanup. 
  2. An executive order by President Biden is aimed at strengthening union jobs in construction by expanding the federal government’s use of collective bargaining agreements between unions & contractors on federal construction sites. 
  3. February 7 Release of White House Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment: A Report to the President


“The Bipartisan Infrastructure Package, , amounts to an historic investment in Appalachian communities, which have been hard hit by the downturn in coal industry jobs. We are hopeful that the thousands of jobs created by cleaning up abandoned mine lands will not only make our communities safer, but also create pathways to long term, family-sustaining careers,” said Dana Kuhnline, Campaign Manager for ReImagine Appalachia. “It will be important to have strong community and labor standards guiding these dollars so we can maximize the benefits of these investments” 


“Ensuring that workers can unionize and get the good pay and benefits they deserve is crucial to growing Appalachian communities,” said Ted Boettner, Senior Researcher at the Ohio River Valley Institute. “Whether it is plugging old gas wells in Ohio or rebuilding our aging infrastructure in West Virginia, making sure these are good jobs helps ensure federal funds stay in our local communities and help build shared prosperity.”