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 Inequality.org

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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