Climate, Politics/Capitol Light©, is a service of The JBS Group and Civil Notion
February 8, 2020
A party in labor?
Although Biden lost Iowa, he won the endorsement of the 775,000-member International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) while on his way to New Hampshire. It was an unusually early endorsement for the union. In 2008 and 2016, the IBEW waited until Obama and Clinton had more or less secured the nomination. It seems Biden’s poor Iowa showing was as unnerving for the union as it was for Biden.
In making the early endorsement, IBEW president Lonnie Stephenson described ‘an urgency this year’ to pick a candidate aligned with their values. Stephenson was being polite. The fact is that Sanders scares the biomass out of the IBEW and a lot of other unions, including the United Mineworkers (UMW), North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU), and the AFL-CIO and many of its more than sixty union affiliates, representing 12.5 million members.
Labor’s problem with Sanders can be summed up in three words—Green New Deal (GND). Sanders’ own plan builds on the GND and calls for a ten-year, nationwide mobilization that would eliminate the nation’s carbon footprint by 2030. Workers in the oil, gas, and coal industries hear and read those words as a pink slip. Biden—being the moderate he is—speaks of making the transition by 2050.
Joel Stronberg, MA, JD., of The JBS Group is a veteran clean energy policy analyst with over 30 years’ experience, based in Washington, DC.