Opinion

OPINION: AOC’s ‘Green Scheme’ Is A Windfall For Unions

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Ashley Varner Freedom Foundation

The so-called “Green New Deal” dominating the headlines right now is being billed as a means to save the earth. But it would do so at the cost of wrecking the nation’s economy — and that’s apparently a tradeoff its advocates are willing to make.

The brainchild of media-savvy freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the resolution would — among its many laughably impractical goals — devastate America’s energy and transportation infrastructure, effectively destroying the segment of the economy fueling the near-miraculous boom we’re currently enjoying and throwing millions of Americans out of work.

While hard details in Ocasio-Cortez’s 14-page manifesto are hard to come by, we know enough to be certain it would be a disaster if enacted. So much so that even two people with impeccable environmental “credentials,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, have scoffed at it.

But a quick look under the hood reveals the Green New Deal goes far beyond just the energy industry. By including language guaranteeing every American a job and healthcare, and guaranteed income for those unwilling to work, the Green New Deal is a blatant and unmistakable push to grow government across the board.

It’s got goodies for everyone who wants to increase government’s role in our lives. For example, the Green New Deal would roll back Janus v AFSCME, last year’s landmark U.S Supreme Court ruling freeing public employees from mandatory union dues as a condition of employment. This power grab would reclaim the glory days of government unions and, not coincidentally, re-energize the left’s electoral hopes.

Since Janus, more than 40,000 workers on the West Coast have left their government unions, costing unions — and by extension the pet candidates and causes the left funds by skimming money from other peoples’ paychecks — more than $32 million a year. Forever.

Understandably, this has the union leaders in a lather. They know that without government complicity and outside assistance, they will continue to lose membership and relevancy over time.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has emerged as the unions’ life line. Consider these elements her the “Green New Deal” resolution:

  • Any Green New Deal bill must provide “the right of all workers to organize, unionize, and collectively bargain free of coercion, intimidation and harassment.”
  • It must also ensure “a commercial environment where every business person, large and small, is free from unfair competition and domination by monopolies domestically or internationally.”
  • The proposal further promises that “the Green New Deal mobilization creates high-quality union jobs” while “strengthening and protecting the right of all workers to organize, unionize, and collectively bargain free of coercion, intimidation, and harassment.”

The ulterior motive here is obvious — funneling people into government union jobs paid for by trillions in taxpayer dollars, further enriching union leaders with millions of dollars a month in dues deductions from the paychecks of these new workers, to be used entirely on political influence.

The Green New Deal should be exposed for what it is — a power play from the left to make every “clean” job a government union job, thus creating a loyal voting bloc that raises campaign cash and funds the very politicians with whom they’re expected to negotiate.

As the influence of government unions wanes because of the free choice of workers post-Janus, the Green New Deal represents a Hail Mary pass to revive their political power, whatever its cost to taxpayers.

Efforts on the West Coast to protect an employee’s freedom to leave their union has revealed the left’s true aim — to keep union membership mandatory and union coffers flush with cash to benefit union bosses and their friendly politicians — regardless of how it impacts individual workers.

They will go to great lengths to make that happen — including shoving more government down Americans’ throats.

The Green New Deal would make their dream a reality. For them.

But for the average American worker, it is nothing more than a nightmare that will bankrupt our economy and our country.

Ashley Varner (@AshNVarner) is vice president of communications and federal affairs at the Freedom Foundation, a national organization working to promote liberty, free enterprise and limited, accountable government.


The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.