Iowa IBEW Greets Obama at Wind Power Plant
June 5, 2012
Before President Obama addressed workers and the media at a wind turbine blade manufacturing plant in Newton, Iowa on May 24, Kevin Clark, business manager of Des Moines Local 347, went behind the podium at TPI Composites to shake his hand. Says Clark:
Two tax credits to promote clean energy are being debated in Congress. The Production Tax Credit, set to expire at the end of the year, could put as many as 30,000 wind industry jobs in jeopardy if it is not renewed. President Obama has put the PTC on his “To Do List” for Congress.
The Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit would help companies making solar panels, wind turbines and geothermal fuels. The administration is pushing for $5 billion to support projects that were not covered in the tax credit which was part of the Recovery Act, the 2009 federal stimulus.
Clark and Local 347 are not bystanders to wind power development. Last year, the local negotiated a first contract covering 130 workers at Trinity Structural Towers, a wind power manufacturer that was organized in 2010. The plant, also in Newton, employs many workers who lost their jobs when the storied Maytag appliance plant was shut down by Whirlpool in 2007.
Also escaping news coverage at the president’s press conference at TPI was Local 347’s active organizing campaign at the 700-worker plant in Newton. The plant has faced high turnover due to poor working conditions. Says Clark:
Headquartered in Arizona, TPI has other wind power production plants in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, China, Mexico and Turkey.
Responding to charges from leading Republicans that President Obama is squandering tax money supporting wind power development, Clark says: