Sustainable Jobs Working Group
Overview of the Sustainable Jobs Working Group
The Green New Deal Virginia, GNDVA, much like its 1933 predecessor, FDR’s New Deal, is a series of policy changes that will fundamentally change the way we work and live. Today, the GNDVA will focus across all sectors to mitigate the damage caused by the Climate Crisis. The Sustainable Jobs working group promotes policies that emphasize economic justice and increase the involvement of unions and labor movement towards environmental justice.
This session, the Sustainable Jobs working group is following the AFL-CIO’s lead to:
Priority 1- Repeal Right to Work
Priority 2- Institute Project Labor Agreements, PLAs, on all development of renewables.
It should be noted that the Sustainable Jobs Working Group will not be proposing stand-alone legislation, but will review legislation proposed by other working groups to ensure union and labor components.
Virginia is among the 27 states that have right-to-work laws. Segregationist politicians sought to prevent the rise of industrial unions that organized workers of all races. Virginia passed its right-to-work law in 1947. Today Virginia is also one of three states along with North Carolina and South Carolina that ban collective bargaining for public sector employees like firefighters, police, and teachers, according to the Center for Economic and Policy Research. Consequently, Virginia has a historically low rate of unionization with just 4 percent of wage and salary workers in Virginia in 2019, compared to the national rate of 10.3 percent. On average, workers in states with right to work laws make 12.1 %, or $6,109, less annually than workers in other states ($44,401, compared with $50,511).
Project Labor Agreements, which have been used for generations, are collective bargaining agreements between building trade unions and contractors. They govern terms and conditions of employment for all craft workers—union and nonunion—on a construction project. They protect taxpayers by eliminating costly delays due to labor conflicts or shortages of skilled workers.
Prevailing wage laws and project labor agreements (PLAs) on public construction projects protect communities and workers from unscrupulous contractors low-balling bids on taxpayer-funded construction projects by setting wage rates to the local or prevailing standard.