By Liz Peek, The Fiscal Times
President Obama’s affection for (and debt to) Big Labor is no secret. Seventeen days after his swearing in, he signed an executive order “encouraging” contractors to use only union workers on federal contracts, the first of many pro-labor moves. Despite the full faith and support of the White House, however, unions are under fire across the country and their all-important membership rolls continue to sink. What to do?
President Obama has undertaken the obvious, advocating higher public spending for union-heavy schools, infrastructure and healthcare, for instance. However, tight budgets and public skepticism have crimped his agenda, requiring a more subtle plan: push “green” investment, and make sure that union employees win the resulting jobs. How? By requiring a “green” certificate for workers in government-funded construction, renewable power and energy efficient transportation industries and for manufacturers of sustainable products. And where will those certificates come from? Why, from the AFL-CIO’s Center for Green Jobs, for example.