Big labor has come out swinging against the Green New Deal, with the AFL-CIO claiming the sweeping energy and economic reforms proposed by Sen. Ed Markey and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez could cause “immediate harm to millions” of union workers.
The largest federation of unions in the country sent a letter to Mr. Markey and Ms. Ocasio-Cortez last week, saying the Green New Deal resolution makes promises that are “not achievable or realistic.”
“We welcome the call for labor rights and dialogue with labor, but the Green New Deal resolution is far too short on specific solutions that speak to the jobs of our members and the critical sections of our economy,” reads the March 8 letter, which was signed by 10 national labor unions on the AFL-CIO’s Energy Committee.
“We will not accept proposals that could cause immediate harm to millions of our members and their families. We will not stand by and allow threats to our members’ jobs and their families’ standard of living go unanswered,” they wrote. “We are ready to discuss these issues in a responsible way, for we all recognize that doing nothing is not an option.”
Republican Sen. John Barrasso tweeted the letter on Monday, writing, “I agree with the AFL-CIO.”
Mr. Markey fired back with a tweet slamming the GOP’s record on climate change.
“We will continue to work and partner w/ @AFLCIO, who is right to say that ‘doing nothing is not an option.’ But until Republicans say that climate change is real, caused by humans, and demands action now, the only people they are in agreement with are Big Oil and the Koch brothers,” the senator wrote.
The Green New Deal, a non-binding resolution that has earned the support of every 2020 Democratic candidate, seeks to transition the country completely off fossil fuels within 10 years. The plan, which would require a major economic overhaul, is projected to cost tens of trillions of dollars.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka told reporters on Capitol Hill last week that labor was not consulted before the plan was released last month.
“Look, we need to address the environment. We need to do it quickly,” he said, The Washington Post reported. “But we need to do it in a way that doesn’t put these communities behind, and leave segments of the economy behind. So we’ll be working to make sure that we do two things: that by fixing one thing we don’t create a problem somewhere else.”
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