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Are Green Jobs Good?

Mark Marich

In the clamor for 'green jobs,' many advocates are avoiding the tough questions about whether green jobs are “good” jobs.  If so-called green collar workers are paid minimum wage, the real benefits of a green economy may be limited. A new study from Good Jobs First, a labor-backed think tank, argues that, when thinking about economic stimulus, policymakers need to focus on both the quantity and the quality of these green jobs. The study assesses job quality in current green sectors such as recycling, wind power, and green construction. It finds that many of these jobs are relatively low-paying, and often provide limited health or retirement benefits. The report, "High Road or Low Road? Job Quality in the New Green Economy" by Phillip Mattera, makes a case for the use of job quality standards in economic development programs and in contracting decisions, and for removing barriers to collective bargaining in leading green economy industries.

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