Union workers haven’t been forgotten when it comes to 2020 Presidential candidates’ plans to combat climate change. Good-paying union jobs were included in many of the Democrats’ proposals and discussions during last night’s marathon CNN forums.
Elizabeth Warren said one of the reasons she likes the Green New Deal so much is because it not only sets targets on green initiatives to save the planet, it also promises a new deal for people who work.
“It’s about justice for people whose communities have been destroyed,” Warren said. “It’s about racial justice on environmental issues and it’s about worker justice.”
From building solar panels to electric cars, the candidates each have unique plans to make sure unions get the first chance to create trillions of dollars worth of new clean energy products.
The plans promise to protect pensions, health care benefits and ensure the opportunity for high wages.
Cory Booker’s plan promises a “manufacturing boom unlike anything we’ve seen in decades.”
His plan involves the creation of 75 million solar panel installations, 50,000 new solar farms, 500,000 on-and off-shore wind turbines and 150 million electric cars.
Before a single dollar is spent, Booker promises he will “seize this opportunity, and put in place ironclad safeguards to ensure that workers and communities share in the benefits of the clean energy economy.”
His plan requires all new projects enforce Davis-Bacon to ensure workers are paid prevailing wages and use project labor agreements, community benefit agreements, local hire, and other provisions to support good-paying, union jobs.
“Unions don’t just need an ally in the White House, we need a champion. Cory Booker’s climate plan shows that he will be that champion,” said John Kaiser, the retired political director of IUPAT Local 246. “Cory understands that if we are going to build a brighter, healthier future for every community, union labor must be part of the solution. I’m proud to stand with a candidate who will empower workers and make sure we have a seat at the table in the 21st Century economy.”
Pete Buttigieg’s climate plan promises more than 3 million high-quality jobs in clean industries.
His plan states: “We will: Incentivize strong labor standards at companies producing clean energy technologies like electric vehicles, efficient appliances, and other components of the clean energy economy.”
Bernie Sanders’ plan calls for spending $1.3 trillion to ensure workers in the fossil fuel and other carbon intensive industries “receive strong benefits, a living wage, training and job placement.”
“We will protect the right of all workers to form a union without threats or intimidation from management,” according to Sanders’ plan. “The benefits include: Up to five years of a wage guarantee, job placement assistance, relocation assistance, health care, and a pension based on their previous salary.”
Kamala Harris’s climate plan will invest $10 trillion of public and private spending over the next 10 years on creating millions of new, high-quality jobs.
“Building a clean economy will require the work of millions of our nation’s hardworking builders, steelworkers, electricians, pipefitters, carpenters, and communications workers,” according to her plan. “As we transition to a clean economy, we must ensure that the jobs we create are good-paying, family-sustaining jobs that protect the right to organize.”
Elizabeth Warren’s plan is in need of “millions of workers to achieve the transition to a clean energy economy.”
“These will be good, union jobs with accompanying pay scales and benefit,” according to Warren’s plan. “We must also prioritize programs to uplift and empower workers who may be hurt by the transition to a more green economy, including those currently employed in the fossil fuel industry. That means providing them with financial security — including early retirement benefits, job training, union protections, and guaranteeing wage and benefit parity for affected workers.”
Julian Castro’s climate plan has a section dedicated to defending and expanding unionization.
“Economic disruption too often hurts workers and is exploited by corporations and the wealthy. Federal policies that strengthen unionization and collective bargaining will empower workers to be resilient against the effects of climate change,” according to Castro’s plan. “This includes amending the 1947 Taft-Hartley Act to disallow States from implementing so-called ‘right-to-work’ laws, passing legislation to end employee misclassification for those in the ‘gig economy’, empowering the National Labor Relations Board to pursue companies that violate labor laws, allowing workers to initiative civil suits, extending labor protections to agricultural workers, and defending public sector unions by passing the Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act.”
Joe Biden’s plan ensures that clean economy jobs will be good jobs.
“We must ensure jobs created as part of the clean energy revolution offer good wages, benefits, and worker protections,” according to his plan. “Toward this end, President Biden will defend workers’ rights to form unions and collectively bargain in these emerging and growing industries; pursue new partnerships with community colleges, unions, and the private sector to develop programs to train all of America’s workforce to tap into the growing clean energy economy; incorporate skills training into infrastructure investment planning by engaging state and local communities; and reinvigorate and repurpose AmeriCorps for sustainability, so that every American can participate in the clean energy economy. These efforts will be worker-centered and driven in collaboration with the communities they will affect.”
Amy Klobuchar states in her plan as the granddaughter of a [union] miner who worked 1,500 feet underground, “Senator Klobuchar understands the hard work and sacrifice of those who built and powered our country.”
“She is committed to supporting and creating new opportunities for workers and communities that have depended on the fossil fuel industry,” according to Klobuchar’s plan.
Beto O’Rourke’s plan will invest and support the pensions and health care benefits that are owed to the workers, including those in the coal industry.
“At the same time, it will also invest in the workers who will build our economy over the next century to support an America with cleaner air, cleaner water, and a more resilient and fair economy that can compete and lead around the world,” according to O’Rourke’s plan.
Steve Bullock has an idea to combat climate change by investing in the workers who powered the United States for generations so they lead the way in the new clean energy economy.
His plan will: “Direct the Department of Labor to strengthen and credentialing programs for workers in communities that are going through economic transition.”
John Delaney’s climate plan will build a “Carbon Throughway,” which is a $20 billion infrastructure project “that we will construct to safely transport captured CO2 to sites for permanent sequestration and reuse.”
“Building the Carbon Throughway will create tens of thousands of jobs and spur new R&D and innovation in carbon capture,” according to Delaney’s plan. “The project would be built with federal labor protections using American steel under a project labor agreement and pay workers prevailing wages.”
Joe Sestak has a plan to invest more in mass transit, increase fuel efficiency standards, improve access to electric cars , reduce food waste, increase recycling, and incentivize consumers and corporations to repair electronic devices, like smart phones, rather than simply replacing them.
by Paige Godden