Green New Deal? Don't forget your union card

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Lauren Burke

2018-19 Atlantic Fellow for Social and Economic Equity

Fifty young people affiliated with the Sunrise Movement, a US environmental activist group, were arrested on November 13 last year in House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s office, following a sit-in demanding that Democrats use their new majority in the U.S. House of Representatives to launch a comprehensive plan to confront climate change — a Green New Deal.

Representative-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez not only attended the protest, but the same day posted on her website draft language to establish a Select Committee on a Green New Deal.

Ocasio-Cortez’s willingness to embrace the dynamic and confrontational mobilization of the Sunrise Movement and their reinvigoration of a public discourse on a Green New Deal signals that the next legislative session will present opportunities to create and elevate an ambitious left agenda.

Ocasio-Cortez’s draft proposal for a Green New Deal Committee contains bold provisions for achieving 100 percent renewable energy, a federal jobs guarantee, a commitment to mitigate racial, regional, and gender-based wealth and income inequalities, and a plan to use innovative public financing to achieve these goals. While these are all important aspects of a Green New Deal, what’s missing are any terms for protecting — let alone strengthening — the right to organize.

Read the rest of Lauren Burke’s blog about the Green New Deal and labor rights on


Lauren Burke is an Atlantic Fellow for Social and Economic Equity. She works on labor-led climate initiatives with the Labor Network for Sustainability. She was a worker organizer with UNITE HERE! for over a decade. @LM_Burke

The views expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Atlantic Fellows for Social and Economic Equity programme, the International Inequalities Institute, or the London School of Economics and Political Science.