The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) is the largest labor union in the United States, and it wants nothing to do with the Green New Deal.
In a letter to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), the AFL-CIO blasted the Green New Deal resolution sponsors for proposing a deal that would harm workers throughout the United States.
“We will not accept proposals that could cause immediate harm to millions of our members and their families.”
I agree with the AFL-CIO. pic.twitter.com/pEVhr9Ricr
— Sen. John Barrasso (@SenJohnBarrasso) March 11, 2019
The AFL-CIO argued that while it believes climate change is an issue that must be addressed, it wants workers to be part of the discussion because workers are “at risk of job disruptions and economic dislocation as a result” of policies addressing climate change.
As IJR previously reported, the Green New Deal strives to make the United States emissions-neutral, meaning 100 percent renewable energy. As for the current state of technology, this goal isn’t possible without terminating several industries.
The AFL-CIO pointed to the fact that many businesses shifted from powering their facilities with coal to natural gas, a move that has greatly reduced emissions at a rate faster than most nations around the world. This is because natural gas is much cleaner than coal but still provides the energy needed to run a massive operation. The union argued that renewable energy sources are not advanced enough to do that at this point.
“[The Green New Deal] is not rooted in an engineering-based approach and makes promises that are not achievable or realistic,” the union wrote.
It also claimed that the Green New Deal could end millions of jobs and lower the standard of living for many members.
“We will not accept proposals that could cause immediate harm to millions of our members and their families,” the letter read. “We will not stand by and allow threats to our members’ jobs and their families’ standard of living go unanswered.”
The AFL-CIO’s split from the Democratic Party on this issue could have major ramifications in 2020. So far, several of the Democratic presidential candidates for 2020 have endorsed the Green New Deal, including Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).
This is a problem because the AFL-CIO dumps millions into Democratic elections each year. In 2018, it spent more than $2 million into pro-Democrat coffers and spent nearly $1.6 million running attacks on Republicans. It spent no money running against Democrats or for Republicans, according to Open Secrets.
If climate change becomes the focus of the campaign for 2020 Democrats, it could cost them some support from the AFL-CIO and its more than 12 million members.