Last year, fueled by a desire to buck the status quo that has chipped away at workers’ health, safety, and rights for too long, the BlueGreen Alliance advocated tirelessly for a historic climate and jobs bill. We called for a bill based on the core tenet that the clean economy should work for working people, while protecting the environment and people’s health. It should also create good-paying, accessible jobs for all.
Just one year after being signed into law the Inflation Reduction Act is helping to build a clean economy that does all that. If it is implemented correctly and the jobs created are good, safe, union jobs for all workers.
The Inflation Reduction Act will revitalize U.S. manufacturing, grow clean energy, and support and create good union jobs across the country. It will help clean up our air and water and is estimated to reduce greenhouse gas emissions up to 42% by 2030 while creating the good-paying, union jobs we need to give all workers the opportunity for a middle-class life.
Creating Good, Accessible, Union Jobs
Investing in U.S. manufacturing, clean energy development, and infrastructure improvements will create good-paying jobs for the workers who have seen the jobs in their community shipped overseas due to deindustrialization; workers impacted by shifts in the energy market; and low-income workers, women, and people of color. Importantly, many of the jobs being created do not require a college degree or experience. These “learn while you earn” jobs create pathways into the middle class for U.S. workers that have been held back for too long. More and more, U.S. workers can see themselves or the people close to them in the kind of jobs being created in the clean economy.
The job creation potential of the law is massive, In fact, an analysis commissioned by the BlueGreen Alliance from the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) at the University of Massachusetts Amherst founds that the more than 100 climate, energy, and environmental investments in the Inflation Reduction Act will create more than 9 million good jobs over the next decade—an average of nearly 1 million jobs each year. This includes:
- 5 million jobs in the clean energy sector;
- 900,000 jobs in clean manufacturing;
- 400,000 jobs in clean transportation;
- 900,000 jobs in building efficiency;
- 150,000 jobs working to support environmental justice efforts; and
- 600,000 jobs in natural infrastructure.
But job quantity it not enough. We need to make sure these jobs are good jobs. To that end, the Inflation Reduction Act takes some significant steps to ensure that the jobs being created are good-paying union jobs. One example is the first-of-their-kind bonus tax credits for clean energy projects that use registered apprentices and pay prevailing wage. Provisions like that are a step forward but we need to do even more to translate the investments being made into good union jobs.
Clean Manufacturing Gets Its Moment to Shine
The clean economy is growing. We should manufacture it here. And we can do it with less pollution than most other nations. In fact, the United States produces some of the cleanest steel in the world. The concept of “clean manufacturing” is getting its overdue moment to shine under the Inflation Reduction Act, which acknowledges the crucial connection between manufacturing and climate action.
Clean manufacturing refers to cleaning up the industrial sector—so factories make things in a way that produces less pollution, protecting the environment and health of local communities—and manufacturing the components of clean energy, like solar panels and wind turbines. Investing in clean manufacturing will help us create strong supply chains here at home, making us less reliant on China and other countries and positioning the U.S. to be a global leader in the clean economy.
President Biden and Democratic leaders in Congress made this historic bill a reality but there were many partners and allies—including the thousands of BGA supporters that wrote letters, took action on social media, attended events, and called on their elected leaders to get the job done—that built the momentum our leaders needed to get it across the finish line. BGA is proud to have been at the forefront of this effort and we’re excited to see the clean, prosperous, and equitable future that the Inflation Reduction Act can help usher in both now and for generations to come.
Today, we celebrate one year of the Inflation Reduction Act, but we continue to advocate for workers and a clean environment every day. We will work with Congress and the White House to ensure that the Inflation Reduction Act is implemented as it was intended—putting workers and communities first.