Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton returned to a familiar venue and delivered a strong message in support of the IBEW and working families on Aug. 4.
In a speech at Las Vegas Local 357, Clinton introduced a proposal for businesses to receive a $1,500 tax credit for every apprentice they hire. She also will push for the nation’s largest job-creation plan since World War II if elected, she said.
“We have a lot of unions seeing their workforce get older,” said Clinton, who was making her second appearance at Local 357 since announcing her candidacy. “We can’t afford that. We have to invest in our young people and give them more opportunities than four-year colleges to get ahead in America.”
Clinton said more than half of the nation’s jobs will not require a four-year college degree by the year 2020. The Electrical Training Alliance, a partnership for more than 70 years between the IBEW and the National Electrical Contractors Association, is recognized for providing among the best apprenticeships in the country – something Clinton noted when she mentioned Local 357’s apprenticeship partnership with Las Vegas-based Mojave Electric, which she visited earlier Thursday.
Unlike many college graduates, apprentices are paid finish their program with little or no debt. Those apprentices will be needed to improve America’s energy distribution system, Clinton said.
“We are going to have an investment in infrastructure,” she said before a crowd of about 1,400 supporters. “Our roads, our tunnels, our bridges, our ports and our airports. But it’s not only what you can see, it’s also what is underground. The water systems and sewer systems. And yes, we need a more modern grid to distribute modern renewable energy.”
Clinton also mentioned her plan to hire 50,000 additional computer science teachers in high school and junior high in order to improve the country’s technical education.
She criticized Republican nominee Donald Trump, who has fought efforts to unionization efforts by employees at the Trump International Hotel on the Las Vegas Strip. Workers there voted in December to join the culinary workers and bartender unions, but Trump and his representatives have refused to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement.
“I am sick and tired of leaders trying to bust unions like Donald Trump is right here in Las Vegas,” Clinton said.
Local 357 Business Manager Al D. Davis said those battles have shown Trump’s disdain for unions and working families.
“That says it all and it’s right here in front of our faces,” said Davis, who also is vice president of the Nevada AFL-CIO.
“If you think Donald Trump is going to put more money in the hands of hard-working people, you need to think again. He got rich by taking other people’s money. I know Hillary doesn’t have that mentality. She cares about working people.”
Clinton visited Local 357 earlier this year. Another good reason for working families to support her is the presidential power to appoint Supreme Court justices. Conservative justices have whittled away unions’ rights for more than 30 years, Davis said.
“They’re not going to have to outlaw labor unions,” he said. “They’ll just have the Supreme Court make enough decisions that we’re not viable anymore. Then we’ll no longer have any influence at the bargaining table.”
Clinton’s lead over Trump has risen to double digits in some polls. But with the election more than three months away, she warned the cheering crowd not to get overconfident, reminding it Trump has outsourced his branded products to overseas manufacturers and the numerous reports he’s refused to pay small business owners for work they performed for him or his companies.
“We cannot take anybody or anything for granted,” she said. “We have work to do. And I need your help. I need you to be part of this campaign.”
Clinton met with apprentices and with Don Campbell, the executive director of NECA in Nevada, during her visit to Mojave.
“I am delighted to be in a place where we really are seeing the best of American business and labor working together, where we are seeing people making a very good, solid, middle-class income that can help to deliver a secure life and future for families,” she said. “This company is truly living proof that businesses can succeed in America by investing in people, not shortchanging them.”
Clinton was introduced at Local 357 by Nevada Sen. Harry Reid, the Senate minority leader who is retiring after his terms ends in January. The two served together when Clinton was a senator from New York from 2001-09.
“The woman who is running President of the United States is not only the most qualified person (this year), she is the most intelligent person to ever run for president,” Reid said.