Misled: The Impact of the Trump Administration’s Agenda on Working Families and the Environment

 This report should provide workers and others with the information they need to understand the current impact of these policies and work toward changing them to protect workers and our communities.

There is no doubt the negative impacts of this presidency on working families will be studied in great detail in the years to come. For the purposes of this report, the impacts of some of the most egregious actions on workers’ rights and safety, environmental protection, job creation, and pandemic response will be reviewed. This report sheds light on the Trump administration’s actions that have negatively impacted working families, communities, and workplaces.

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Misled

2020 Polling Memo: Swing State Voters on Responsible COVID-19 Relief

The poll explored voters’ perspectives regarding conditional financial relief to the auto industry and found strong support for requiring company guarantees to retain domestic jobs and manufacturing, and to invest in building the cleaner, more fuel-efficient vehicles of the future.

From May 11-19, Matt George Associates conducted an online survey for the BlueGreen Alliance of 1,000 likely voters in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, and North Carolina—key swing states for the upcoming presidential election. The sample demographics closely mirrored each state’s 2016 voting records. All of the respondents were registered voters and identified as “absolutely certain” that they will vote in the November 2020 election. This, along with an additional six rigorous screening criteria predicted the likelihood of a respondent to vote with a relatively high degree of certainty. Conducted after the first round of COVID-19 relief was enacted, the poll explored likely voters’ reactions to emergency financial assistance provided as a response to the COVID-19 crisis.

The public opinion poll shows that voters clearly support economic relief during an unprecedented pandemic—especially for individuals and small businesses—but where relief is considered for large corporations, they want it structured the right way—with accountability measures in place.

Click the link below to download the polling memo.

Less Exposure and More Protection: What We Can Do Now to Protect More Black and Brown Workers’ Lives

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) give this reason for their stark June 25th finding: Long-standing systemic health and social inequities have put some members of racial and ethnic minority groups at increased risk of getting COVID-19 or experiencing severe illness, regardless of age.

Many of these “long standing systemic and health inequities” will take many years of focused attention and funding to address. The racism that produces higher rates of diabetes and hypertension, for example, cannot be cured through an act of Congress or a governor’s Executive Order.

Emergency policies, however, can effectively address some of the impacts of racism during the COVID-19 pandemic. The twice as high death rate for Black and Latinx people could be reduced by mandating COVID-19 safety protections at their jobs. The President and his administration have the power to lower the incidence of COVID-19 by enacting and enforcing an emergency temporary workplace health and safety rule that will give workers the equipment, distance, handwashing time, and working conditions they need to keep themselves safe.

If the president won’t act, governors must do what they can to protect workers, especially workers of color, in their state.

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Water Works: The Job Creation Potential of Repairing America’s Water Infrastructure

Cover of Water Works report

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Yet age, strain from population growth, lack of investment, and emerging threats from climate change have increased the burden on the current water infrastructure system. The nation’s wastewater and drinking water infrastructure received grades of “D+” and “D” from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), respectively.

Good jobs can be created through the replacement and upgrade of pipes, treatment plants, storage tanks, and the installation of green infrastructure projects. Gray water systems, water reuse-recycling, hot-water circulating systems, and rainwater catchment systems help conserve water and the energy used to treat and transport it, and create jobs in the industries supplying these technologies. Investments in water recapture, reuse, and transport will save water and energy, improve water safety, reduce carbon dioxide emissions from pumping water, and create jobs to improve our nation’s water infrastructure.

BlueGreen Alliance research has found that by investing 105 billion dollars over ten years, we could improve our drinking and clean water systems to a “B” grade and create 654,000 job-years across the U.S. economy. With strong labor and procurement standards, among other policies, we can make sure that these jobs are good jobs.

Water Works infographic

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Manufacturing Agenda: A National Blueprint for Clean Technology Manufacturing Leadership and Industrial Transformation

U.S. Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN) joined leaders from the BlueGreen Alliance, NRDC, Sierra Club, United Steelworkers and labor and environmental allies  for a virtual town hall on rebuilding American manufacturing August 5, 2020. 

This agenda lays out a plan across five pillars of action, and it is guided by an overarching strategic focus on strengthening good jobs, equity, and reinvestment in manufacturing, communities, and workers.

PILLAR 1:  Invest at scale in a new generation of American manufacturing

  • Establish and capitalize an industrial bank and/or revolving loan fund;
  • Make an increased, sustained and coordinated investment in three priority areas:
    • Building robust clean technology supply chains in America;
    • Transforming energy-intensive industry; and
    • Responsible mining, recycling and reclamation;
  • Expand our existing loan, grant and tax programs to rapidly retool and convert American factories to build the technologies of the future, and to fill critical gaps in the manufacturing supply chain; and
  • Transform energy-intensive industry to utilize advanced clean processes and technology nationwide.

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PILLAR 2:  Innovate to transform industry

  • Greatly increase U.S. funding for R&D to levels competitive with leading nations;
  • Establish a new U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Industrial Transformation, and execute a program of technology development, demonstration, and deployment in energy-intensive industry commensurate with achieving net zero emissions by 2050;
  • Coordinate, fund and execute a program to speed the development of economically critical clean technologies and supplier networks in the United States;
  • Establish a permanent jobs, labor, and energy workforce program in the Office of the Secretary of Energy;
  • Increase public benefit from publicly funded research and innovation; and
  • Ensure U.S. clean economy manufacturing objectives are elevated as a primary focus of a new National Institute of Manufacturing.

PILLAR 3:  Responsibly mine, recycle, and reclaim the critical materials necessary for a secure, clean economy

  • Develop a comprehensive national critical minerals strategy guided by a commitment to environmentally, economically, and socially responsible mining of minerals necessary to anchor clean technology manufacturing in the United States;
  • Incentivize and enhance use of responsibly produced critical minerals and metals in line with that strategy;
  • Jumpstart responsible domestic critical materials recycling projects and circular economy promotion; and
  • Spur reclamation, remediation, and repurposing of industrial sites and spur economic development in hard-hit communities.

Click here to download the Executive Summary.

PILLAR 4:  Use public investment wisely to support a strong, clean, fair manufacturing economy across America

  • Utilize direct federal procurement to spur demand for clean, fair, safe, and domestically manufactured clean technology, while upgrading our public infrastructure and services;
  • Improve and extend Buy America/n, and ensure its effective application to manufactured goods, clean technologies, and materials;
  • Utilize soundly crafted Buy Clean procurement policies that incentivize and reward clean, low-carbon production of energy intensive materials;
  • Utilize “Fair and Responsible” procurement approaches to enhance labor standards, workers’ rights, career pathways, equity, and community benefits;
  • Ensure all major public spending on clean technology deployment—such as tax incentives, loans, grants, and bonds—support high labor standards and domestic manufacturing throughout the supply chain; and
  • Develop and enact the globally leading energy, emissions, and pollution standards necessary to drive demand for clean technology production in the United States. 

PILLAR 5:  Change the rules to build a clean economy that works for all Americans

  • Raise labor standards across the private sector and actively discourage exploitative business models in the production and deployment of clean technology;
  • Ensure fair trade rules and enforcement, and enact appropriate border adjustments;
  • Realign corporate tax and finance rules and incentives to encourage investment in domestic plants and workers and to discourage outsourcing and offshoring; and
  • Enact proactive measures to prevent unnecessary job loss in changing industries and ensure holistic reinvestment in communities where job loss or disinvestment is underway.

Now is the time for action to transform America’s industrial sector. Bold and proactive policies and investments can position the U.S. manufacturing sector to lead in clean technology manufacturing and low-carbon materials production for generations to come. We have an economically and environmentally critical opportunity to demonstrate that working people and policymakers can come together to:

  • Act urgently, comprehensively, and at scale;
  • Lead and capture new clean technology markets at home;
  • Invest fairly and equitably to rebuild the industries of today and the communities that need it most; and
  • Ensure good, fair, and safe jobs in old and new industries alike.

Click here to download the Executive Summary separately. 

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Winning with White Working-Class Target Voters on Jobs and the Environment

The poll focused on white registered voters with less than a four-year college degree in Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin who are not hardline Trump supporters and are therefore persuadable. The poll found that there is significant opportunity for Joe Biden to earn the support of a critical mass of these voters—particularly the segment that voted third party or did not vote in 2016—with a focus on economic recovery, good jobs, and a clean environment.

Concerns around Trump’s environmental and worker safety rollbacks were strong. In particular, rollbacks on clean air, clean water, and worker safety gave voters doubts or concerns about supporting Donald Trump. In addition, 55% of voters surveyed said ensuring people have clean air to breathe and clean water to drink was a topic they were very interested in hearing presidential candidates speak about during the campaign, with 85% very or fairly interested.

Economic recovery was the top priority for most voters. The BlueGreen Alliance poll also asked prospective voters to rank the jobs that should be prioritized for rebuilding the economy. Manufacturing jobs and clean energy jobs are critical components of economic recovery and rebuilding the economy, with 49% and 47% respectively rating them as top priorities.

Click the link below to view the synopsis of the poll.

TECH@RISK: The Domestic Innovation, Technology Deployment, Manufacturing, and Jobs at Risk in Stepping Away from Global Leadership on Clean Cars

Our analysis vividly illustrates that—regardless of the modeling approach used—flatlining the standards in 2020 dramatically slows adoption of advanced technologies in almost every vehicle subsystem and cuts demand for products made by hundreds of manufacturers and hundreds of thousands of workers all across the country.

The threat appears particularly acute for those that make the most advanced technologies and materials, but a rollback threatens jobs and investment across the industry. These immediate impacts understate the longer-term impact of losing the competitive technology edge to other nations. Stepping back from leadership on efficiency and emissions reductions in the global vehicle sector means both U.S. jobs lost making the advanced engines, transmissions, components, and materials that consumers count on to deliver fuel savings in popular SUVs, cars, and trucks today, and jobs and business opportunities lost in building the domestic supply chain in emerging and electric vehicle technology for today and tomorrow.

Our analysis finds between 89,000 and 202,000 of tomorrow’s jobs would be lost or foregone as a result of the rollback.

Investing in America’s Infrastructure to Create High-Quality Jobs and Protect the Environment

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We should be leading the world in building the innovative infrastructure systems that will ensure our global competitiveness and security in the 21stcentury and beyond.Yet, American infrastructure systems are in dire need of modernization. The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)’s latest 2017 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure gave the nation’s infrastructure a grade of “D+,” and estimated that getting to a grade of “B” would require a significant federal investment over the next 10 years. Our aging infrastructure is also being battered by hurricanes, extreme weather, and sea level rise.

Our nation must move forward with a robust and ambitious plan to rebuild and transform America’s infrastructure. This plan must address all aspects of our infrastructure needs, including the electric grid, methane leaks in the natural gas distribution sector, surface transportation, industrial infrastructure and advanced manufacturing, water infrastructure, schools, housing, commercial buildings, broadband, and natural infrastructure. Congress must move forward a plan to meet this need, including boosting revenue to support the public sectors’ ability to meet this challenge

BlueGreen Alliance research has found that investing an estimated $2.2 trillion in the sectors above to improve them from a “D+” grade overall to a “B” grade has the potential to support or create an additional 14.5 million job-years across the U.S. economy, add a cumulative $1.66 trillion to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) over 10 years, and reduce greenhouse gas pollution, versus a business-as-usual approach. Making these smart investments will pay dividends for our environment and communities by reducing air and water pollution—including the emissions driving climate change—reducing the use of materials and chemicals that are hazardous to human health, and making our communities more resilient to the impacts of climate change. Building infrastructure with future conditions in mind is also smarter and more cost-effective than rebuilding systems that have proven to be vulnerable.

We will accrue these benefits only if we tackle this challenge the right way.To ensure we maximize the benefits of our infrastructure investments for communities, the environment, and workers, any infrastructure package must:

  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other forms of air and water pollution;
  • Ensure all projects built with public resources are subject to Buy America standards that maximize the return to taxpayers, workers and the American economy;
  • Enforce Davis-Bacon provisions that ensure workers are paid prevailing wages;
  • Utilize project labor agreements (PLAs), community benefit agreements, local hire, and other provisions and practices that prioritize improving training, working conditions, and project benefits, including respect for collective bargaining agreements and workers’ organizing rights such as neutrality, majority sign-up, and first contract arbitration;
  • Drive forward-looking planning and investments that meet environmental standards and build resilient infrastructure systems and communities, including through natural infrastructure solutions;
  • Improve air and water quality and public health;
  • Prioritize use of the most efficient, resilient, and cleanest materials and products with the lowest carbon and toxicity footprints;
  • Enhance workforce training and development programs to expand the number of skilled workers in new and existing industries;
  • Increase pathways to economic opportunities for communities and local workers, especially for people of color and low-income communities;
  • Prioritize public funding and financing for infrastructure investment. All financing methods should be held to strong public interest standards; and
  • Increasing public safety. By modernizing and making needed repairs that can help prevent catastrophic events.

Repairing America’s infrastructure systems is both urgently needed and an enormous opportunity; it should be a bipartisan legislative priority in the 116thCongress.

Read our letter to members of Congress.

Click the link below to download our priorities.

An Analysis of the Economic Impact of the Proposed 1,200MW Expansion of Maryland’s Offshore Wind Program

That is one finding in a new report commissioned by the BlueGreen Alliance, a national partnership of labor unions and environmental organizations. The report, conducted for the Alliance by Sage Policy Group in Baltimore, found that expanding Maryland’s goals for offshore wind would yield broad economic benefits from Ocean City to central Maryland.

The Clean Energy Jobs Act proposes to increase the amount of offshore wind energy generated in Maryland to 1,568 megawatts from the current 368 megawatts by 2030.

Study Findings:

  • Construction associated with developing 1,200 megawatts of offshore wind energy in Maryland will support an estimated 25,000 jobs (where a job is defined as one position lasting for one year), $1.5 billion in associated labor and proprietor income, and $3.6 billion in economic activity.
  • Once construction of the additional 1,200 megawatts authorized is complete, operation and maintenance of the facilities will support approximately 1,500 jobs and more than $100 million in labor income annually. State and local tax revenues will be enhanced by nearly $23 million and $13 million annually, respectively, according to the study.
  • Jobs supported by offshore wind projects typically include skilled positions in manufacturing, construction, installation, operations, and maintenance. The BlueGreen Alliance study finds that the average annual income per worker approaches $60,000 during construction and $70,000 during operations.

ELECTRIC VEHICLES AT A CROSSROADS

Electric vehicle innovation, investment, production, and adoption are growing rapidly, both worldwide and in the United States. As part of an overall revival in innovation and investment in the automotive industry, manufacturers are demonstrating that the United States can be a global leader in clean technology manufacturing, while bringing back high-skill,high-wage, family-supporting jobs.

Continuing this trajectory in the electric vehicle (EV) sector will be critical to retaining and growing the next generation of American manufacturing and jobs.

The BlueGreen Alliance’s ongoing research finds both exciting progress as well as cause for concern. Click the link below to read the report.

Working Class People on Jobs and the Environment

Throughout the Midwest, working people want a new plan for the economy that creates good jobs and protects the environment by investing in training for the jobs of today and tomorrow; repairing, modernizing, and upgrading our infrastructure; and making the United States a leader in the manufacturing of cutting edge technologies. They prioritize clean air and clean water, and support clean energy, and they see it as part of the future. Further, working people reject attempts by politicians to divide us by creating a false conflict between good jobs and a clean environment.

These are the results of a two-year research project conducted by the BlueGreen Alliance. Click the link below to download the research.

Driving Investment: How Fuel Efficiency is Rebuilding American Manufacturing

The report, Driving Investment: How Fuel Efficiency is Rebuilding American Manufacturing, found that since 2008 U.S. automakers invested $63.8 billion in facilities across the country, completing 258 investments at 100 factories, with an additional $12.4 billion in investments at 42 facilities promised by 2020.

The report illustrated that the “costs” of compliance with fuel economy standards represent added automaker spending on product and manufacturing innovation, additional investments in factories and technology, and purchases of additional and upgraded components from suppliers. In turn, these costs represent a much-needed, multi-billion dollar reinvestment in American manufacturing and jobs nationwide. The report cited several examples, including five sequential investments totaling over $1 billion in two Ohio engine plants to deploy much more fuel efficient engines and large investments at assembly facilities making pickup trucks and SUVs that feature lightweight mixed material bodies and frames.

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