Merger will boost the push for ‘green jobs’

The BlueGreen Alliance and Apollo Alliance announced a merger Thursday to strengthen and unify the movement to build a clean energy, good jobs economy to fuel U.S. job creation. The newly unified organization will call on the federal government to focus anew on creating good jobs, securing America’s energy future and preserving the environment for future generations. Beginning July 1, the two organizations will combine to become the BlueGreen Alliance, which will be home to the Apollo Alliance project. United Steelworkers President Leo Gerard and Sierra Club Chair Carl Pope will continue as co-chairs, and David Foster will continue as executive director.

In our state, the Washington Apollo Alliance was a founding affiliate chapter the national organization.  Since 2005, its efforts have been coordinated by the Worker Center division of the M.L. King County Labor Council, AFL-CIO.  The Washington Apollo Alliance was instrumental in the development and garnering labor, environmental, and business support for I-937 (our renewable portfolio standard) and the Climate Action and Green Jobs Law of 2008.

“The BlueGreen Alliance/Apollo Alliance merger will certainly expand our clean energy network, refocus efforts on creating good jobs in Washington, and boost labor’s presence in the Washington green jobs space with the addition of BlueGreen Alliance’s membership of 10 international unions,” said the Worker Center’s Patrick Neville, who is coordinator for what will now be known as the Washington BlueGreen Apollo Alliance.  Currently, the Washington Apollo Alliance is developing a regional version of the Apollo Alliance Clean Transportation Manufacturing Action Plan to expand transit investment and maximize local manufacturing for our transportation systems. (For more info, email Patrick or call him at 206-441-4968.)

Earlier this year, the national BlueGreen Alliance launched Jobs21!, a nine-state grassroots campaign calling for a national jobs plan to put America back to work building the industries of the 21st century here in the United States. This initiative will be strengthened through coordination with the Apollo Alliance’s strong network of state and local affiliates. It will also be enhanced by Apollo’s recently-launched Clean Transportation Manufacturing Action Plan (TMAP) project that calls for federal investment in clean transportation that will create 3.7 million direct and indirect jobs over six years and will save Americans up to $5,000 per family each year in commuting costs.

In their first official act together, the new BlueGreen Alliance and the Apollo Alliance joined U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH)  Thursday for a telephone press conference to announce their support for his new legislation — the Strengthening Manufacturing and Rebuilding Transit (SMART) Act — that would invest in American-made transportation infrastructure.  Brown’s legislation is aimed at enhancing domestic transportation supply chains while maximizing job creation in manufacturing.

Brown told reporters:

The buses, trolleys and trains that take Americans to every corner of our country should be ‘Made in America.’  By strengthening the domestic supply chain for public transit, the SMART Act will strengthen our public transit options and revitalize our manufacturing heritage.”

“Nearly three years after the bottom fell out of our economy, we are still facing a jobs crisis of historic proportions,” Gerard told reporters.

We can’t afford to sit on the sidelines while the U.S. misses the boat on the industries of the 21st century — the biggest job-creating opportunity in a generation.

James Parks of AFL-CIO Now contributed to this report.


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