Demanding Good Green Jobs

We need green jobs, but can they pay enough?. (Photo: Gavin Stewart [CC by 2.0]/Flickr)

On Wednesday, representatives from the Laborer’s International Union, the Sierra Club and Congress held a news conference to discuss the need to make green jobs good jobs.

“Speakers will ... urge Congress to take bold action to ensure that the major public investments in Congress' economic recovery and reinvestment plan create a green economy that rebuilds the middle class and renews the American Dream for America's workers.” Source: PR Newswire

The report, High Road or Low Road? Job Quality in the New Green Economy (PDF), includes some alarming statistics. One of the green jobs found during the research for the report paid only $8.25 per hour; the position was in a recycling processing plant. Although $8.25 is more than minimum wage, it does not help rebuild the middle class. An employee earning $8.25/hour simply cannot support his or her family.

Another alarming finding is the outsourcing of manufacturing:

“Some U.S. wind and solar manufacturers have already begun to offshore production of components destined for U.S. markets to low-wage havens such as China and Mexico. Examples of offshoring include the manufacture of blades for wind turbines, defying the common assumption that such blades are too large to ship overseas.” Source: Change to Win

The news conference and release of this report comes on the eve of National Green Jobs Advocacy Day. The advocacy day will kick off the 2009 Good Jobs Green Jobs National Conference. Many Americans are behind the green jobs rally cry, but as this report points out, these new green jobs must be good jobs too.