Alabama Defense industry worker calls for reducing the Pentagon budget to fund 'good green union jobs'
David Story, a resident of Alabama and member of the Machinists Union, works in the defense industry. But in an article published by The Nation on November 19, Story says something that many others with that background won't say —and he argue the Pentagon budget should be reduced in order to fund job-creating green energy programs.
"I live and work in an area of Alabama referred to as 'the Pentagon of the South,'" Story explains. "I'm a member of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. And I say throwing money at the Pentagon doesn't help workers like me. It's time to cut the bloated Pentagon budget and use those resources where they will actually serve my fellow workers: funding good green union jobs."
In September, Story observes, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a $778 billion Pentagon budget — and much of that money, he laments, will "go directly to corporations in the lucrative defense contracting industry."
Story goes on to say that the defense industry is not the major job creator that many Americans think it is.
"Study after study has shown that spending on the military industry is one of the least effective ways to create jobs," Story notes. "For every seven jobs created by military spending, investments in clean energy would make ten — and in health care and education, even more than that. Those who are using our names to excuse their votes for corporate interests are, in effect, stealing jobs that could be ours."
Story, acknowledges that the transition to a green economy will take some effort, but that effort, he stresses, will pay off later in a big way by creating jobs while fighting climate change.
"The transition may be difficult at first," Story writes. "But in the long run, it's a clear win. More jobs means not only less precarity, but also, more bargaining power, and a stronger union for all of us. Beyond helping workers in our industry, a green job transition is a key step toward ending our nation's permanent war footing and confronting instead the greatest challenge of our time. That's a public good for generations to come."
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