Press Statement

ReImagine Appalachia Campaign on U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg’s Visit to the Region

By May 6, 2021No Comments


May 6, 2021


John Neurohr,, 717-364-6452


(PITTSBURGH) – In the context of U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg visit to Pittsburgh to make the case for President Biden’s infrastructure plan, the co-directors of the ReImagine Appalachia campaign, Stephen Herzenberg of Keystone Research Center and Amanda Woodrum of Policy Matters put out the following statement:

“As documented in jobs studies commissioned by the ReImagine Appalachia campaign for Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia, the aggressive climate infrastructure investment needed to get to net zero emissions by 2050 could create more than half a million jobs in these three states alone, many of them trades and manufacturing jobs. President Biden’s American Jobs Plan incorporates all the elements of the RA blueprint, including making our transportation sector more sustainable, growing clean and efficient manufacturing, and enacting strong union rights and labor standards so that more of the jobs created are good union jobs. The President’s plan also highlights the importance of Buy America as a key piece of the puzzle for how to grow sustainable manufacturing jobs.

“One success story driven by key Pittsburgh players highlights the potential of the infrastructure plan to kick start a new era of opportunity across the manufacturing Midwest and the Ohio River Valley.

“Over the past decades, too many global corporations abandoned the heartland. In stark contrast, the partners of the Heartland Capital Network launched by the United Steelworkers of America (USW) and the Steel Valley Authority (SVA), a multi-municipal entity founded to in the 1980s, were using workers’ capital—the pension funds of unionized workers—to responsibly invest in preserving our manufacturing capacity. The Heartland multi-union initiative helped catalyze pension funds to invest in pro-worker private equity funds in the early 2000s, including KPS Capital Partners Fund.

“KPS, whose legacy founders had assisted the Steelworkers in combatting the brutal corporate restructuring of the 1980s and ‘90s, has turned around dozens of firms in the auto and transit-supply chains. Early on, KPS turned around 16 auto supplier plants in Michigan, Minnesota and the Dakotas, saving 3,200 mostly union jobs. Their efforts also rebuilt New Flyer Industries, the greenest bus company in the U.S., saving 3,500 mostly union jobs. KPS has now saved 45-50,000 good jobs in the U.S., Canada and Europe.

“Pittsburgh Port Authority has added the power of public procurement to this success formula for restoring our region’s global manufacturing prowess, purchasing hybrid buses and now electric buses. The American Jobs Pan could scale up these key ingredients—municipal procurement of clean energy and sustainable products, responsible investment, Buy America, skilled union workers—to achieve the rebirth for which our region has hungered since the 1980s.

“With the right investments and policies, this success can be replicated and scaled up to help make Appalachia a manufacturing hub for the next generation of social and environmentally responsible products of the future, including electric vehicle and their pieces and parts, battery technology and bioplastics.”


Get more information on the coalition website here: