PILMA (PRNewsfoto/PILMA)

PILMA (PRNewsfoto/PILMA)

HARRISBURG, Pa., July 22, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- The Pharmaceutical Industry Labor-Management Association today released an update to its first-of-its-kind report on the economic impact of the long-standing partnership between skilled craft unions and the biopharmaceutical industry in Pennsylvania and 13 other states. The report found that Pennsylvania building trades helped drive $3.59 billion in investment on major construction projects (over $5 million) active at any point between 2015 and 2021. During the same time period, skilled craft union worker earnings in Pennsylvania reached nearly $85 million – representing nearly 7.3 million hours of work – in addition to significant funding for union health insurance and pension benefits.  Updated from a study between 2012 and 2017, the study shows a steady growth in investment from the biopharmaceutical industry both in Pennsylvania and in the US – with the investment and earnings growing every year since 2015.

"The study findings demonstrate the overwhelming value of the critical partnership between the biopharmaceutical industry and the skilled construction craft union workers in Pennsylvania," said Richard Bloomingdale, President, Pennsylvania AFL-CIO. "We are proud of the work our members have contributed to building and retrofitting facilities where new treatments and cures are discovered. Our partnership was essential in building out the infrastructure to bring the COVID-19 vaccine to patients in Pennsylvania and the US."

The study was conducted by the Institute for Construction Economic Research (ICERES), a non-partisan network of academic researchers whose goal is to find pragmatic solutions to workplace and labor market issues in the construction industry. Data for the study were provided by Industrial Information Resources (IIR), a global consulting firm specializing in market data on major power, energy, and industrial infrastructure projects in the United States.

Additional key findings of the report include:

  • 48 major construction projects were active in Pennsylvania at any point during the six-year time period analyzed.
  • 14 skilled Pennsylvania craft unions contributed an estimated 7,266,056 labor hours to biopharmaceutical industry construction projects over the six years, earning $85,488,658.
  • Electricians, instrumentation technicians, plumbers and pipefitters, and carpenters had the highest number of labor hours among the Pennsylvania trades.

"The building trades' highly skilled members are essential to help us bring forward medicines and vaccines for many of the world's most challenging diseases," said Bob Filippone, Vice President Policy and Government Relations, Merck. "We continue to be at the forefront of research to prevent and treat diseases that threaten people and animals, all in pursuit of our mission to save and improve lives. Our facilities in Pennsylvania are home to state-of-the-art laboratories and manufacturing centers that require the skill and expertise of the building trades workers to build these complicated projects and our own talented crafts persons to maintain them."  

The biopharmaceutical sector in Pennsylvania turns to union contractors and their workers because of their long-established and highly effective training and apprenticeship programs. Building, refurbishing, and retrofitting biopharmaceutical facilities to handle next-generation research and development requires an educated, skilled, and experienced labor force.

North America's Building Trades Unions spend more than $1.6 billion a year on apprentice and education programs throughout the country without imposing a nickel of student debt or requiring a dime of taxpayer money. Workers develop skills while on the jobsite and participate in classroom learning in the evenings. North America's Building Trades Unions (NABTU) sponsors comprehensive apprenticeship readiness programs (ARPs) throughout the U.S. These programs provide a gateway for local residents – focusing on women, people of color, and transitioning veterans – to gain access to Building Trades' registered apprenticeship programs.

The full report is available at www.pilma.org/unionjobs.

Study Methodology

The report examined private-sector biopharmaceutical construction projects active at any time between 2015 and 2020 in 14 states (CA, CO, CT, DE, IL, MA, MD, MI, NJ, NY, OH, OR, PA, and WA). The states included in this report were selected by PILMA. The report relies extensively on data from Industrial Information Resources (IIR), a global consulting firm specializing in market data on major power, energy, and industrial infrastructure projects in the U.S. The study team identified major private-sector projects in each state and made estimates of total industry construction spending and labor demand based on IIR data. Projects that were co-developed with academic institutions, government (e.g. NIH), and hospital systems were not included in the analysis. The second part of the study integrated data from IIR and the U.S. Census Bureau to examine the economic impact of the partnership between the pharmaceutical and biotech industry and construction trades unions.

About The Pennsylvania AFL-CIO

The Pennsylvania American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (PA AFL-CIO) was formed in 1960 with the objective of improving the lives of workers and their families.

In order to benefit the estimated 900,000 members, the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO has dedicated itself to fighting for affordable healthcare, high quality public education, job safety, fair and sustainable wages, and other such programs. The Pennsylvania AFL-CIO also fights to ensure corporate responsibility to protect the safety and rights of workers, the environment, and Pennsylvania's communities.

About Merck

For 130 years, Merck (known as MSD outside of the U.S. and Canada) has been inventing for life, bringing forward medicines and vaccines for many of the world's most challenging diseases in pursuit of our mission to save and improve lives.

We demonstrate our commitment to patients and population health by increasing access to health care through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships.

Today, we continue to be at the forefront of research to prevent and treat diseases that threaten people and animals – including cancer, infectious diseases, such as HIV and Ebola, and emerging animal diseases.

About Pharmaceutical Industry Labor-Management Association

PILMA is a coalition of labor organizations and companies in the pharmaceutical industry who have joined forces to grow this important sector in our economy, create high-quality jobs, and promote medical innovations to cure disease. More information is available at www.pilma.org.

The Institute for Construction Economics Research (ICERES)

The Institute for Construction Economics Research (ICERES) is a non-partisan network of academic researchers whose goal is to find pragmatic solutions to workplace and labor market issues in the construction industry.

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