A topic we have discussed here many times. How do we create clean jobs and keep union members employed that are working in planet harming industries? This article addressed some of those questions.
The leaders of the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) recently sent a letter to the co-sponsors of the Green New Deal opposing the idea. “We will not accept proposals that could cause immediate harm to millions of our members and their families,” they wrote, even as they said they agreed that “doing nothing is not an option” on climate

The Green New Deal has the potential to unify the labor and environmental movements by creating good jobs to fight climate change. The proposal could be the most significant development in labor organizing in a generation. It could also protect workers in vulnerable industries from disruptive transitions away from fossil fuels. Yet some unions appear more concerned about preserving fossil fuel jobs than with preventing a global calamity. This is a fundamentally shortsighted choice—for workers, for organized labor, and for the planet.
The best way to ensure justice for extraction-dependent workers and communities is to plan for it. Robust investments in workforce retraining, building community resilience, and finding viable alternative revenue sources for local governments—all of which could feature in the Green New Deal—produce more just outcomes than an unplanned decrease “disruptively and haphazardly unleashed upon a community” by market forces, as the Stockholm Environment Institute described what could happen in U.S. coal country if the present trends continue.

Energy efficiency, solar, wind, and geothermal energy jobs together total more than 2.6 million—more than twice the 1.1 million jobs in fossil fuel extraction and fossil-powered electricity generation combined. They’re good jobs, too. As of 2017, median hourly wages for solar photovoltaic installers and wind turbine technicians were nearly $19 and $26, respectively. Energy efficiency occupations include electricians, HVAC installers, and insulation workers, who had respective median hourly wages of about $26, $23, and $19. These are competitive with median wages for refinery operators, wellhead pumpers, and derrick operators (about $33, $25, and $22, respectively).