AFL-CIO Slams Green New Deal: 'Not Achievable or Realistic'

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March 12, 2019

In an letter to Green New Deal originators Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) and Sen. Ed Markey (D., Mass.), AFL-CIO representatives wrote that the proposal is "not achievable or realistic."

"We will not accept proposals that could cause immediate harm to millions of our members and their families. We will not stand by and allow threats to our members’ jobs and their families’ standard of living go unanswered," wrote Cecil Roberts, president of the United Mine Workers of America, and Lonnie Stephenson, president of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

The Green New Deal does not offer sufficient support for labor unions with its sweeping changes that would affect United States infrastructure and industry, according to the AFL-CIO.

Sen. John Barrasso (R., Wyo.) tweeted his support for the letter, writing, "The @AFLCIO, which represents 12.5 million workers & includes 55 labor unions, slams the #GreenNewDeal in a letter to @SenMarkey & @AOC: 'We will not accept proposals that could cause immediate harm to millions of our members and their families.' I agree with the AFL-CIO."

Markey tweeted a response, writing, "We will continue to work and partner w @AFLCIO, who is right to say that "doing nothing is not an option." But until Republicans say that climate change is real, caused by humans, and demands action now, the only people they are in agreement with are Big Oil and the Koch brothers."

Last week, AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka told reporters that he was not involved or consulted during the crafting of the Green New Deal, according to the Washington Post.

"Look, we need to address the environment. We need to do it quickly," he said. "But we need to do it in a way that doesn’t put these communities behind, and leave segments of the economy behind. So we’ll be working to make sure that we do two things: That by fixing one thing we don’t create a problem somewhere else."

Similarly, last week Phil Smith, the head of communications and government affairs for the United Mine Workers of America, met with Markey's office. During that meeting, according to the Post, Smith called the Green New Deal's aim to reduce United States coal emissions to zero in the next 10 years, a "nonstarter," as coal still accounts for over a quarter of the country's electrical supply.