The Corner

Obama’s Green Dough for Labor

Liz Peek at The Fiscal Times writes today on the President’s plan to direct more tax dollars to Big Labor. The game-plan is simple: require “a ‘green’ certificate for workers in government-funded construction, renewable power and energy efficient transportation industries and for manufacturers of sustainable products.” And of course those certificates will come from “the AFL-CIO’s Center for Green Jobs.” More Peek:

Though the president has also proposed some streamlining of existing programs, he wants to expand the job training budget by $2.8 billion. While upgrading our workforce could make sense, the administration may have a secondary purpose – payback for Labor’s $400 million support of his 2008 campaign, and its expected boost to his reelection effort.

Here’s how: the government funds job training programs administered by organized labor. Through such efforts, unions can expand their outreach to the unemployed and disaffected. In the process, they sign up new workers. Meanwhile, Big Labor is offering workers “green” certification through these programs. At the same time, the White House wants to funnel money into “green” industries. It is only a matter of time before such works demand “green” certification, guaranteeing union workers preferred status.

Sound farfetched? Perhaps, but I’m not alone in making the connection. Consider a study undertaken last year by the University of California at Berkeley’s Center on Employment in the Green Economy. It assesses the labor needs of the state’s mammoth sustainability drive. The authors encourage “high road economic development” – code for union labor – and embrace the dual strategies of “high-road agreements and certification strategies.”

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