Labor Dept. counts oil lobbyists, garbage men, bus drivers as ‘green jobs’ [VIDEO]

Nicholas Ballasy Senior Video Reporter
Font Size:

Under questioning by House oversight committee chairman Darrell Issa, senior U.S. Labor Department officials revealed that the Obama administration counts oil lobbyists, bus drivers, garbage men, bicycle shop employees and used-record store clerks as “green jobs.”

The exchange occurred between Issa, Bureau of Labor Statistics Acting Commissioner Josh Galvin and Assistant Secretary for Employment and Training Jane Oates at the “Addressing Concerns about the Integrity of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Jobs Reporting” hearing Wednesday in Washington:

REP. DARRELL ISSA: Well, let me — let me run you through some questions here because you’re here because we’re having a green jobs counting discussion.
Does someone who assembles turbines — is that a green job?
MS. JANE OATES: Wind turbines?
REP. ISSA: Yeah. Wind turbines.
MS. OATES: I think we would call any kind of sustainable manufacturing —
MS. OATES: — fitting the definition that was —
REP. ISSA: Does someone who sweeps — does someone who sweeps the floor in a facility that makes solar panels, is that a green job?
MS. OATES: Solar? I’ll give that to —
REP. ISSA: To Galvin?
MS. OATES: — if you don’t mind.
MR. JOHN GALVIN: We define — we have a two-part definition —
REP. ISSA: We already had the briefing on that. So just answer the question. If you’re sweeping the floor in a solar panel production facility, is that a green job?
MR. GALVIN: If you ask me for the number of health care jobs in the United States, I’ll give you the employment from the health care industry.
REP. ISSA: Look, Mr. Galvin —
MR. GALVIN: — nurses and doctors —
REP. ISSA: You did not want to come here as a witness. You are not a delighted witness. So let’s go through this.
I asked you a question. You know the answer. Would you please answer it.
If you sweep the floor in a solar panel facility, is that a green job?
REP. ISSA: Thank you. If you drive a hybrid bus — public transportation — is that a green job?
MR. GALVIN: According to our definition, yes.
REP. ISSA: Thank you. What if you’re a college professor teaching classes about environmental studies?
REP. ISSA: What about just any school bus driver?
REP. ISSA: What about the guy who puts gas in the school bus?
REP. ISSA: How about employees at a bicycle shop?
MR. GALVIN: I guess I’m not sure about that.
REP. ISSA: The answer is yes, according to your definition. And you’ve got a lot of them.
What about a clerk at the bicycle repair shop?
REP. ISSA: What about someone who works in an antique dealer?
MR. GALVIN: I’m not sure about that either.
REP. ISSA: The answer is yes. Those are — those are recycled goods. They’re antiques; they’re used.
What about someone who works at the Salvation Army in their clothing recycling and furniture?
MR. GALVIN: Right. Because they’re selling recycled goods.
REP. ISSA: OK. What about somebody who opened a store to sell rare manuscripts?
MR. GALVIN: What industry is that?
REP. ISSA: People sell rare books and manuscripts — but they’re rare because they’re old so they’re used.
REP. ISSA: What about workers at a consignment shop?
MR. GALVIN: That’s a green job.
REP. ISSA: Does the teenage kid who works full time at a used record shop count?
REP. ISSA: How about somebody who manufacturers railroads rolling stock — basically, train cars?
MR. GALVIN: I don’t think we classified the manufacture of rail cars as —
REP. ISSA: 48.8 percent of jobs in manufacturing, rail cars counted, according to your statistics. About half of the jobs that are being used to build trains.
OK. How about — just one more here. What about people who work in a trash disposal yard? Do garbage men have green jobs?
REP. ISSA: OK. I apologize. The real last last is, how about an oil lobbyist? Wouldn’t an oil lobbyist count as having a green job if they are engaged in advocacy related to environmental issues?

Follow Nicholas on Twitter