At its July convention, the American Federation of Teachers adopted a resolution backing the Green New Deal proposal to counter climate change. Saying that the labor movement must be at the center of shaping climate policies, “including tax-base support for impacted communities, wage replacement and parity for affected workers”—along with retirement protections, and job and training guarantees—the resolution declares that the AFT will work to “ensure that no worker is left behind.”

AFT President Randi Weingarten said:

“The Green New Deal is a blueprint into a better future for us all. It creates the conditions for a more just economy by prioritizing real people over corporate profits, putting a check on energy corporations, and elevating our bus drivers, nurses and sanitation workers, who, among others, are the frontline workers experiencing the impacts of the climate crisis on a daily basis. In doing so, we can more adequately focus the needs of historically marginalized communities that have disproportionately suffered from environmental injustice, racism and systemic exclusion from well-paying jobs.

“This is about what kind of world we leave for our next generation. Our educators and paraprofessionals, nurses and healthcare workers, and public employees wake up every day to support and educate young people so they are ready and able to serve their communities. This resolution tells that generation: You can have a real impact, and we stand with you in this fight.”

David Hughes, a member of American Association of University of Professors, American Federation of Teachers (AAUP-AFT) Rutgers, who helped draft the resolution, said “Our government has got to respect science and protect us.” He added that adoption of the resolution allows the AFT to give Biden a push in the right direction on environmental policy.

The resolution backs funding for Green New Deal programs through progressive taxes on the rich, including a Billionaire Net Worth tax, and reductions in Defense Department spending that is not related to veterans.

During the floor debate, delegates adopted an amendment endorsing a “national green schools campaign” calling for retrofitting and installation of solar panels at public schools across the nation. Read more »