The AFL-CIO, which represents 12.5 million union workers, outlined its opposition to the proposal in a recent letter to its leading sponsors: U.S. Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., and U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.
“We welcome the call for labor rights and dialogue with labor, but the Green New Deal resolution is far too short on specific solutions that speak to the jobs of our members and the critical sections of our economy,” the AFL-CIO Energy Committee told the congresswoman and the senator in a letter dated March 8.
“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,” they wrote. “We are ready to discuss these issues in a responsible way, for we all recognize that doing nothing is not an option.”
"The Green New Deal resolution is far too short on specific solutions ... We will not stand by and allow threats to our members’ jobs and their families’ standard of living go unanswered."
The Green New Deal has earned the support of a number of Democratic 2020 presidential candidates. Its backers say the ambitious concept is designed to tackle income inequality and climate change by eliminating much of the fossil fuel consumption in the United States and would most likely require tax increases.
Ocasio-Cortez has described the deal as a “life and death” issue. She has not addressed the AFL-CIO letter.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said last week that unions were not consulted before the plan was released in February.
“Look, we need to address the environment. We need to do it quickly,” he said, the Washington Post reported. “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.”
Sen. John Barrasso, R- Wyo., tweeted a copy of the letter Monday, saying “I agree with the AFL-CIO.”
Markey slammed the Republican Party’s record on climate change in response.
“We will continue to work and partner w @AFLCIO, who is right to say that “doing nothing is not an option,” he tweeted. "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.”
The GOP is expected to bring the Green New Deal up for a vote this month, according to the Hill.