Green Jobs Need Labor Standards
As the public conversation about climate justice grows louder and more urgent, we have seen little coverage on the matter of worker protections and labor standards. The fact is that these so-called great jobs are hard to find because they are mostly non-union. Take, for example, wind and solar industry projects: They are 77% and 82% non-union, respectively.
Before we throw workers, their families, and their local economies into a lurch, why don’t we create some truly great green jobs?
A first step would be to make sure that green energy projects have proper labor standards, local hire requirements, and the like. From a policy perspective, taxpayers should not subsidize industries that reduce wages and erode the middle class.
The notion that organized labor, industry, and lawmakers can solve the climate crisis is a lofty one, but I am encouraged by the progress of our affiliates and the leadership of the North American Building Trades Unions. NABTU is leading the charge in asserting that green jobs must be good jobs — and come with a union label.
Infrastructure Plan to Build Back Better
President Joe Biden has introduced a bold, once-in-a-generation infrastructure proposal called the American Jobs Plan. It seeks to turn the tide on decades of disinvestment in our public infrastructure and kickstart economic recovery, and do so with a package north of $2 trillion.
The plan will modernize airports and ports, fix roads, rebuild bridges, revamp pipelines in our drinking water systems, and much more. It will also require that goods and materials are made in America and shipped on U.S.-flagged and -crewed vessels.
Biden aims to pay for all this with the Made in America Tax Plan, which will ensure corporations pay their fair share. (He can start with the 90 Fortune 500 companies that paid $0 in federal taxes in 2018.)
The Made in America Tax Plan is written to encourage local job creation, and, if passed, will pay for the American Jobs Plan in about 15 years and will thereafter help to lower our national deficit. Sadly, Republicans stopped caring about this type of investment — not to mention the deficit — and showed their true colors in 2017. Remember the Trump tax reforms that year? Those changes gave tax breaks to massive corporations and the richest 1% while simultaneously eliminating the deduction for your union dues.
It’s long overdue that corporations pay their fair share, and if that money is used to create jobs while modernizing our infrastructure, then count us in. In terms of economic recovery, the timing of these bold plans couldn’t be better. Remember, every $1 invested in infrastructure generates $3.70 in economic growth.
Let’s support this plan and Build Back Better!
Victory for SF Janitors’ Union
On April 30 at 1:01 a.m., Local 87 President Olga Miranda texted fellow labor leaders: “We won!! We got a deal. Thank you, thank you!!”
Their successful contract negotiations arrive after a nine-month struggle that included over 180 pickets, two strikes, countless hours of negotiating, and 26 members laid to rest after contracting COVID-19 on the job.
The San Francisco Building and Construction Trades Council was proud to play a role in maintaining labor solidarity while Local 87 janitors fought to protect seniority, preserve the union hiring hall, and improve safety conditions. This stands out as the first private-sector fight in our city in 2021, and we are all better off that labor earned a W.