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“Hardhats vs. Hippies”: How the Media Misrepresents the Debate Over the Green New Deal

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/06/21/hardhats-vs-hippies-how-media-misrepresents-debate-over-green-new-deal

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It should come as no surprise that attempts are being made to divide us against each other over the Green New Deal. It’s obviously an existential threat to powerful entrenched interests, but the threat to particular sectors of the working class is contrived—very likely by those same entrenched interests.

Don’t buy the hype! There will be more than enough work transitioning to a carbon-free economy (but there likely won’t be enough profit to suit the Kochroaches).

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I’m a union electrician and have spent the better part of the last three years building solar farms in Minnesota. The biggest concern we have when it comes to renewable energy sources — solar in particular — is making sure that the work being done is by qualified electricians. All solar work is governed by the National Electrical Code and therefore is to only be installed and maintained by qualified persons, i.e. electricians.
While I wholeheartedly agree that not enough is being done to prepare the country for a renewable future, I’m against any deregulation that would open up electrical work to non-qualified people — and this is currently the battle taking place in our legislatures across the nation.
Weakening the rules that govern the safety of the workers performing installation and/or maintenance of these sites will not build them faster or safer. The real problem with electricity that non-qualified people are not aware of is that you can not see it, smell it, and rarely can you hear it — it’s just there. Waiting patiently for a path to ground.
The other real concern that tradespeople have is the race to the bottom attitude some have as far as wages and working conditions are concerned, this ties back into the desire of some to deregulate the industry by claiming that some of the work can be done by laborers and this is simply not the case. I encourage anyone interested in building renewable energy projects to reach out to your local IBEW (a simple Google search with your town & IBEW) and ask about becoming a member, we offer the best pay, training, and benefits in the industry.

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Great article.

It comes as no surprise that any way forward meets with the polarization we face as collectively as it was created. Creating more token economies really serve the polarization and while they may have some success (because they can be manipulated so easily) they don’t give the tangible results that people need to see results. How else can you break this down and still be inclusive?

The other thing is this requires a real lifestyle change and different way of thinking. I think the issue of “hardhats” and “hippies” has evolved though and a closer examination of that bias would be useful.