CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- U.S. Rep. Nick J. Rahall told West Virginia union leaders on Tuesday that people who believe cheaper, non-union labor is good for American business are "short-sighted."
"Union labor also helps increase corporate America's bottom line with your safety standards and the quality of your work," Rahall said at the event hosted by the State Building Trades Council.
"Each day you go to work, the safety of America's workforce increases and the quality of America's craftsmanship rises," he said. "The source of all those benefits that accrue to our country, the expanding and rebuilding of our national infrastructure and our structurally safe and sound inventory of plants, buildings and homes can be summed up in one word -- union."
Rahall is the senior Democrat on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
He said backing from union workers helps promote federal legislation extending the Water Resources Development Act.
"That measure is in ongoing, productive negotiations and working its way into law as we speak. That bill puts the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers back on track for the first time in six years."
Representatives from the AFL-CIO and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce both testified in favor of federal infrastructure legislation.
Continued cooperation between the two groups, Rahall believes, "is going to be key in getting a long-term, fully-funded transportation bill before current law expires this year on Sept. 30. Building roads builds jobs and grows the economy."
Rahall also responded the growing number of negative television ads attacking him.
Groups such as Americans for Prosperity and the American Energy Alliance have already spent millions on political ads criticizing Rahall and other congressional candidates, primarily Democrats.
Those ads, Rahall said, are part of the "tidal wave of obscene spending going on in campaigns in the wake of the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision."