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How to “Build Back Better”

By staff - Labor Network for Sustainability, March 2021

Anyone interested in how to address the concerns of both labor and environmentalists in upcoming legislation should take a look at the new Sierra Club report “How to Build Back Better: A 10-year Plan for Economic Renewal.” Although the Sierra Club is an environmental organization – in fact, the country’s largest–this “blueprint for economic renewal” has been designed with the needs of workers and discriminated-against groups front and center.

The plan is based on the THRIVE Agenda, which has been endorsed by the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, American Federation of Teachers, American Postal Workers Union, Amalgamated Transit Union, Communications Workers of America, United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America and Service Employees International Union.

  • By investing $1 trillion per year, an economic renewal plan based on the THRIVE Agenda would create over 15 million good jobs–enough to end the unemployment crisis–while countering systemic racism, supporting public health, and cutting climate pollution nearly in half by 2030.
  • These investments must come with ironclad labor and equity standards to curb racial, economic, and gender inequity instead of reinforcing the unjust status quo.

Labor Unions and Green Transitions in the USA

By Dimitris Stevis - Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces to Respond to Climate Change, February 27, 2019

“In broad terms there are now two camps amongst US labour unions with respect to climate change and renewables (the two not always related). On one side, are those unions that believe that something needs to be done about climate change and that renewables are a good strategy. On the other side are those that are opposed to meaningful climate policy –even as they claim that climate change is a problem.”

This report outlines the deep cleavages with respect to climate policy but also argues that the views of unions are more complex and contradictory than the opposition-support dichotomy. Additionally, it seeks to understand what explains the variability in union responses to climate change and policy. What can account for the contradictions evident amongst and within unions?

Read the report (PDF).

An Open Letter to Developer Phil Tagami

By Ted Franklin - No Coal in Oakland, April 7, 2017; image by Brooke Anderson

On Saturday, April 8, the Alameda Labor Council will sponsor a Labor, Climate & Jobs Forum with plenary and workshop sessions devoted to how Unions are addressing climate and environmental challenges by organizing workers and communities.  Speakers will include Josie Camacho, executive secretary-treasurer, Alameda Labor Council; Kathyrn Lybarger, president, California State Federation of Labor; Cesar Diaz, State Building and Construction Trades Council; and Carol Zabin, UC Berkeley Labor Center Green Economy Program.

The Forum follows the Labor Council’s pathbreaking support for the No Coal in Oakland campaign.  In September 2015, in one of the first actions by any labor council in the United States to oppose a developer’s plans on environmental grounds, the Alameda Labor Council passed a resolution calling on Mayor Libby Schaaf, the Oakland City Council, and the project developers “to reject the export of coal through the Oakland Global project, to not take funds from Utah to secure use of the terminals for coal, and to execute a binding agreement or adopt an ordinance that will bar export of coal from this public land.”

With strong support from Labor, faith, environmental, and community organizations, the Oakland City Council banned the storage and handling of coal in the City of Oakland by adopting an ordinance prohibiting bulk storage and handling of coal within Oakland’s city limits.

The City supported its decision by reviewing extensive evidence of serious local health and safety impacts that would result from locating a large coal export facility in West Oakland as well as disastrous effects on global climate that would result from burning the vast quantities of coal that would be shipped overseas.

EcoUnionist News #122 - #NoDAPL Update

Compiled by x344543 - IWW Environmental Unionism Caucus, September 20, 2016

The following unions have issued statements in solidarity with those opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline; we will add additional unions to this list as we become aware of their having taken a similar stand:

  1. New York State Nurses Association - September 1, 2016
  2. IWW - September 3, 2016
  3. Border Agricultural Workers - September 7, 2016
  4. Amalgamated Transport Union - September 9, 2016
  5. Communications Workers of America - September 9, 2016
  6. National Nurses United - September 9, 2016
  7. ILWU Local 19 - September 12, 2016
  8. Oregon Public Employees Union (SEIU Local 503) - September 12, 2016
  9. United Electrical Workers - September 12, 2016
  10. ILWU Pacific Coast Pensioners Association - September 13, 2016
  11. National Writers Union (UAW Local 1981) - September 16, 2016
  12. California Faculty Association - ca. September 17, 2016
  13. AFL-CIO Labor Coalition for Community Action, (includes the A. Phillip Randolph Institute, the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, the Coalition of Labor Union Women, the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, and Pride at Work) - September 19, 2016

(This may not be a complete list, but we will endeavor to correct any oversights as we find them. If you know of additional unions who have joined this list, please contact us at euc@iww.org.)

On the other hand, some unions insist on staying on the wrong side of history:

In Response, union members are encouraged to sign this appeal (instructions included within).

Dakota Access Pipeline Halted Again!:

Direct Actions against the Pipeline Construction Continue:

And Solidarity Actions Take Place All Over:

The Fine Print I:

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The Fine Print II:

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