A relatively new term, the phrase "green jobs" applies to jobs that utilize environmentally-friendly methods of construction (i.e. solar panel installation, geo-thermal home heating, etc.).
AWF supports all forms of energy; both proven and alternative, as long as the free markets are allowed to decide what works and what doesn't. These "green jobs" help create a new type of construction industry that should lead to new jobs, more work for those currently employed in this sector and provide additional education and training.
Current law however does not allow the markets to choose and we remain concerned about the role of green jobs in the nation’s economic recovery. A recent Congressional hearing focused on the $50 billion in grants and tax incentives set aside by the “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009” (H.R. 1) to promote green jobs and the “Green Jobs Act of 2007,” a program that would train workers for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.
AWF has expressed concern about provisions in the stimulus package and the Green Jobs Act that exclude a significant portion of the construction workforce from participating in "green jobs".
The Green Jobs Act mandates that in order to receive federal funding for "green jobs", organizations must partner with an organized labor union, saying:
(ii) ELIGIBILITY- To be eligible to receive a grant under clause (i), an entity shall be a non-profit partnership that--
(I) includes the equal participation of industry, including public or private employers, and labor organizations, including joint labor-management training programs, and may include workforce investment boards, community-based organizations, educational institutions, small businesses, cooperatives, State and local veterans agencies, and veterans service organizations; and...
To receive federal funding, this Act forces organizations to partner with labor unions. The problem: organized labor only makes up 7.8 percent of the private sector workforce.
If the Green Jobs Act is not fixed, over 90 percent of the private sector workforce will not be able to compete in one of the largest growing fields of construction.
AWF remains extremely concerned that this Act is carving out a specific niche in the market for this growing field of construction for only specific types of organizations to compete for jobs. We maintain that all private sector entitites should be allowed to compete for publically funded construction projects, regardless of labor union membership or not.