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Railroad Workers United calls for Just Transition

Press Release - Railroad Workers United, April 1, 2016

Whereas, the continued extraction and combustion of fossil fuels such as coal and oil has been scientifically proven to represent a threat to the environment and the future of the planet; and

Whereas, there is a mass movement domestically and globally to radically reduce the continued use of such fuels to power economic development; and

Whereas, other alternative energy sources – wind, solar, geothermal, hydroelectric–are developing rapidly and appear to be the wave of the future; and

Whereas, railroad corporations have traditionally hauled large amounts of fossil fuel–especially coal–but the future of this traffic appears uncertain or possibly even non-existent within a few decades; and

Whereas, the burden of shifting from an economy based on fossil fuels to one based upon renewal energy should not be unfairly born by workers, including railroad workers; and

Whereas, to ensure that such a transition to alternative energy does not create an economy of low paid jobs for working people-including railroad workers-whose jobs could conceivably be threatened by such a transition;

Therefore, Be it Resolved that RWU supports a “Just Transition” to an economy based upon renewal and clean energy; and

Be it further Resolved that RWU demand workers who are displaced from environmentally destructive industries be provided living wage income and benefits through public sector jobs or a universal basic income; and

Be it Further Resolved that RWU demand that workers who are displaced from environmentally destructive industries be provided with commensurate rates of pay and benefits while retraining; and

Be it Further Resolved that RWU demands that fossil fuel extraction dependent regions such as Appalachia be locations where investments of alternative energy are made to offset the economic dislocations that workers and communities would face from such a transition; and

Be it Finally Resolved that RWU call upon the rail industry and the rail unions to work together to move away from unsustainable practices - specifically the hauling of environmentally destructive commodities--and work towards expanding the railroads’ business prospects in areas such as mail, passengers, trailers and containers, renewal energy components, etc.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.