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LIUNA on the Green New Deal

Statement of Terry O’Sullivan, General President of the Laborers’ International Union of North America, On the “Green New Deal”

Washington, D.C. (Feb. 7, 2019) – The “Green New Deal” resolution released today is filled with lessons. It is exactly how not to successfully enact desperately needed infrastructure investment. It is exactly how not to enact a progressive agenda to address our nation’s dangerous income inequality. And it is exactly how not to win support for critical measures to curb climate change.

Attaching a laundry list of laudable proposals unrelated to climate change – proposals which LIUNA and other progressive organizations have long fought for – to the sails of fantasy ensures that they all go down on a sinking ship. Infrastructure issues must be addressed in infrastructure legislation, while climate issues must be addressed through climate legislation.

We enthusiastically support real measures to move toward a carbon-free energy future. We also believe in science, which dictates that we will never reach that goal without lower-carbon bridge fuels such as natural gas and carbon-free fuels such as nuclear power.

According to the resolution, a “Green New Deal” would require every car to be electric-powered and ban all fossil fuels, among other proposals. It is difficult to take this unrealistic manifesto seriously, but the economic and social devastation it would cause if it moves forward is serious and real.

While rhetorically mimicking one of the most successful government initiatives in our country’s history, there is a significant difference between the real New Deal and the “Green New Deal.” The real New Deal put green in working people’s pockets, won massive public support and lifted our nation out of despair. The latter threatens to destroy workers’ livelihoods, increase divisions and inequality, and undermine the very goals it seeks to reach. In short, it is a bad deal.

 

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The half-million members of LIUNA – the Laborers’ International Union of North America – are on the forefront of the construction industry, a powerhouse of workers who are proud to build America.