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Union Worker Raises Alarm on Job Crushing Policies


03.31.21

Here’s one big thing to remember when President Joe Biden rolls out his climate and infrastructure plans that will completely transform America’s economy with trillions of taxpayer dollars of government spending.

During an Energy and Commerce Energy subcommittee hearing last week, Eric Hofmann, a natural gas utility worker in Southern California and President of Local 132 of the Utility Workers Union of America, said this:

“Workforce stability to operate and maintain the infrastructure is a key factor as we transform that infrastructure over time to reduce its carbon footprint, to de-carbonize. We, the union workers, are a resource and a force for achieving our nation’s environmental goals when our talents, knowledge, creativity, and energy are engaged and valued.”

Will President Biden’s infrastructure and climate agendas keep natural gas utility workers like Eric Hofmann in mind?

Or will he and the 4,000 union workers he represents just be told to “transition” to a new job?

Whether it’s President Biden’s infrastructure plan or the Democrats’ CLEAN Future Act, transitioning workers to fit in with the Left’s rush-to-green agenda is a top concern.

Don’t miss this exchange with Energy Subcommittee Republican Leader Fred Upton (R-MI). Rep. Upton asked Mr. Hofmann this:

“What’s the reaction from your membership for those that say, ‘well, maybe we can find you another job in a different sector of energy, maybe at the same salary? ’What level of skepticism is there as it relates to that?”

Mr. Hofmann said his skepticism is “off the charts high.” He added:

“When we hear the term, ‘just transition,’ quite frankly it makes our skin crawl because we have not seen any example of anything that is that: just.”

“I worry about our newest member who signed up last week. You know, what does that mean for his career going forward? What about people that have 20 years? What about their retirements and everything else and their families? There’s a lot for us to consider there.”

Mr. Hofmann continued on to speak about how difficult it would be for his members to transition to other roles and how many of these jobs are a far cry from what they currently do, despite what President Biden, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and other Democrats say.

House Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) asked Mr. Hofmann “What do you think when D.C. is talking about the other occupations that they can train you to do?”

“One example is that an environmental attorney is considered a green job,” Mr. Hofmann said. “That’s just not really an occupation that I see a lot of my members transitioning into. There’s other examples that I see real challenges with also.”

Mr. Hofmann also spoke about how many jobs would be lost in the energy sector under policies that don’t embrace an all-the-above energy approach. He said the Left’s rush to green would lead to many energy workers losing their jobs, including his members.

Read this exchange between Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-ND) and Mr. Hofmann about transitioning natural gas and pipeline workers.

“When they talk about repurposing your member and union workers across the country….One, the jobs don’t exist. Two, your members aren’t trained for this,” Rep. Armstrong said. “We talk about these issues from a national security issue and we talk about it from a reliability and resiliency issue. Can you just expound on the human level of where that ends up with your members and so many like that across the country?”

“I don’t think there’s any question that a greater level of reverence needs to be recognized to the men and women who make these systems work. No question,” Mr. Hofmann said.

Rep. Armstrong also asked, “When people just say, ‘we’ll retrain you,’ do you know if [those jobs] exist on any scale?… Is there somewhere they could go now in the renewable field where those jobs exist in any kind of the same capacity?”

“In my hometown, I’m not too far away from the Palm Springs Windmills. You’ll see lots of things out there but one thing I’ve never seen is an employee parking lot,” Mr. Hofmann said.

Bottomline: As the Biden Administration rolls out their plans for infrastructure, it should be held to account for how the Left’s climate policies weaken America’s all-the-above energy strategy that supports workers, like those in the natural gas industry.

It’s no wonder the Left plans to spend millions of dollars to make this tough sell to the American people.

In the meantime, House Republicans on the Energy and Commerce Committee will continue to lead on solutions to modernize and improve America’s energy infrastructure and promote an all-the-above energy strategy across the board.

Republican solutions value and prioritize the American energy workers of today and tomorrow. CLICK HERE to read our Securing Cleaner American Energy agenda.

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