Congress, Richards, Appalachia discussed on The Takeaway

The Takeaway
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We build a clean energy economy we are actually lifting people out of poverty and making jobs more accessible we have community benefit agreements for example right which are often applied on large construction projects that include career pipelines of pre apprenticeship to registered apprenticeship programs with local hiring so that Community members where projects are being built. Actually get the jobs that come from that investment We have We have you know pipelines registered apprenticeship programs. That are not just jobs not just careers. And then i think we also have to look at the fact that unionization itself is a way in which we address inequities right because one of the things that unionization does is to confront directly wage discrimination through contracts so the the data shows that for example a black union member earns twenty eight percent more in wages on average compared to a non union. Black worker this country. So i think we have a number of tools to address that i think president biden has been very clear that he sees a clean energy future is also a way of addressing historic and current inequities. And and we gotta get it done a little bit about what these jobs could offer Coal and oil and gas workers can make as much as six figures up to one hundred thousand dollars a year but so far from what we understand. The average solar installation job pays about forty five thousand a year. Maybe about half that. What is it gonna take for green jobs to become comparible in terms of salary jason to fossil fuel jobs. You need to close the gap in union density between a clean energy jobs like solar and wind and jobs incumbent energy sectors union density in solar and wind jobs is roughly four to six percent that is two to three times less than union density rates in fossil electric power generation So until we close that gap were were not going to close the wage and benefit gap because the single best way of doing that is to ensure that workers can collectively bargain with their employers for better wages and benefits and working conditions. Heather what hurdles do we expect the biden administration to face when trying to implement Their green jobs plan going forward. We're already hearing some opposition from some republican members of congress are saying who are fearing the loss of these jobs. Is there anything that biden administration can do. I mean i guess the first question would be. Is it possible to even retrain current fossil fuel workers to be clean energy workers to participate in the current clean energy Jobs that are available. And if that doesn't happen. What other hurdles will biden face Retraining is Is a tricky is a tricky issue That tends to make people pretty angry. Fossil fuel country. I think i think to some degree because historically that's been kind of the bone that's thrown in that direction if people talk about. Hey we're gonna move move away from these fossil fuel jobs that we give you a training program. It's not say training programs are bad It's just that when we talk about a transition that affects you know individual workers as well as communities We're talking about a whole kind of ecosystem and even though those are ecosystems that are Stuck in certain areas such as like what jason referred to You have places like you know. Wyoming eastern wyoming there too dependent on coal parts of appalachia. That are very dependent on coal. Parts of southern louisiana that are dependent on oil Those ecosystems are kind of complicated. So it's not when we talk about the transition. I think one of the things that gets lost is that. it's not as simple as sending somebody to a program to to to learn how to be a wind technician And yes went technician. Jobs paid as well as fossil fuel jobs. Maybe that would be the number one thing that we do. But i think that when people talk about the energy transition in the challenges And people very realistic and very honest about what's going on What we're talking about is what happens to the community at large happens to those individual workers and you have to have. I think a lot of folks are saying you have to have A bigger concept about what happens when you take away fossil fuel jobs. It's not that it's impossible or horrific but it is something that that has huge impact. And i think you know. Hopefully there is room for that impulsive to understand that. There's a big. There's a big impact there. That's that goes beyond retraining. So i think that there is a huge challenge In understanding that and making sure that people are making political decisions at a high level. Understand that but one of the biggest You know kind of problems to that. Is that the people that are fighting. Fossil fuel jobs are fighting for the existence of fossil fuel jobs and are not necessarily folks that are going to be saying okay. you know. we're definitely gonna lose these job. So what do we do for the communities. There's there's a disconnect in terms of palaces talked about politically That makes it hard to have these conversations. Okay what is happening regardless of policy. What is happening. Because all seen what kind of policies we put in place To to help workers to help communities that are affected by other transition. Richards is an energy reporter with any news and jason. Walsh is the executive director of the blue green alliance. Thanks to you both for joining us. Thank you. We're all feeling the economic crunch from the covid. Nineteen pandemic from workers who've been laid off or furlough to businesses that have had to close their doors but now as many businesses faced continuing losses. Some say they're attempting to stay afloat in ways. That consumers might find questionable from salon dentists offices to nursing homes businesses around the country. Some are charging hidden cove. Nineteen related fees for covering things like p. p. e. disinfection services and other things consumers may not be aware of hannah. Denim is a national business reporter with the washington post..

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