AFL-CIO President Opposes Green New Deal

'Workers' interests weren't completely figured into it'

AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka / Getty Images
April 23, 2019

AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka expressed opposition to the Green New Deal during a forum hosted by the Economic Club of Washington, D.C., on Tuesday.

Trumka said he opposes the deal "as currently written," according to the Washington Examiner.

"We weren't part of the process [in drafting the proposal] so workers' interests weren't completely figured into it," Trumka said.

During the Global Climate Action Summit last September, Trumka said the labor movement would oppose any proposal for a clean environment which did not address concerns of workers in the energy industry.

"Simply demanding that plants, industries, and projects be stopped or shut down, with no plan for the people who are put out of work, no call for shared sacrifice, and no dialogue or solidarity with those whose lives and communities are dependent on carbon-based fuels, that poisons the well politically," Trumka said.

The Green New Deal championed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) calls for a dramatic overhaul of America's economy and infrastructure. A supplementary document posted by her office during the proposal's roll out said the plan called for "economic security to all who are unable or unwilling to work." It also acknowledged challenges to "fully get[ting] rid of farting cows and airplanes" in 10 years, but said it would seek to replace or upgrade every building in America with green energy alternatives.

"We set a goal to get to net-zero, rather than zero emissions, in 10 years because we aren't sure that we'll be able to fully get rid of farting cows and airplanes that fast, but we think we can ramp up renewable manufacturing and power production, retrofit every building in America, build the smart grid, overhaul transportation and agriculture, plant lots of trees and restore our ecosystem to get to net-zero," Ocasio-Cortez's office said.

The document was later removed from the congresswoman's website.

The Washington Post criticized the Green New Deal in an editorial, arguing it did not meet the test of being "efficient, effective, focused and achievable."

The American Action Forum projected Ocasio-Cortez's Green New Deal proposal would cost up to $94 trillion over 10 years, which amounts to over $600,000 per household.