AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said in a statement Wednesday that President Obama’s new climate change initiative must focus on creating jobs and a key part of that must include federal support for various projects involving fossil fuels.
Trumka applauded the president’s speech and said the initiative would require “robust and meaningful participation by all stakeholders, including unions” and that this drive must “come with an emphasis on job creation.”
The union leader said this would require more federal spending on: transportation and infrastructure projects; modernizing the electric power grid; and new natural gas technologies, especially to prevent leaks in pipelines.
“$8 billion in loan guarantees for advanced fossil-fuel technologies, including carbon capture and storage, is an essential way to harness American ingenuity to reduce emissions from fossil fuel use,” Trumka said. He added the any renewable energy technologies must be manufactured in the US.
In short, Trumka was demanding that labor leaders such as himself be included in drawing the plans for Obama’s push and that those plans include billions in federal spending for unionized industries.
The president’s emphasis in the speech on the need to use fossil fuels, especially natural gas, for the time being suggests he is already leaning that direction.
“We know this will be an arduous journey. The labor movement looks forward to a full and open engagement with the administration and all stakeholders as this important process unfolds,” Trumka’s statement concluded.