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Washington Machinists Council votes to oppose I-732 carbon tax

IAM(Sept. 24, 2015) — The Washington Machinists Council last weekend voted unanimously for a resolution in opposition to Initiative 732, which would create a new tax on carbon emissions while cutting other taxes to make it “revenue neutral,” because it fails to address the economic and social implications of market-based mechanisms to curtail pollution.

“Initiative 732 raises no new revenue. We cannot eliminate carbon-based jobs with no way for people to transition to clean-energy jobs,” said Dan Morgan, President of the Washington Machinists Council and Directing Business Representative of IAM District 160. “Workers and their communities cannot bear the burden alone.”

A group called Carbon Washington is currently collecting signatures for this Initiative to the Legislature. If they collect 250,000 valid signatures by Jan. 1, 2016, and state lawmakers do not pass it during the next legislative session, I-732 would appear on the ballot in November 2016.

The Washington Machinists Council is the umbrella organization for all members of the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers (IAM) in Washington state, with delegates from all local and district lodges. It represents more than 50,000 Machinists Union members statewide, working in aerospace, shipbuilding/repair, auto/truck repair, wood products and related industries.

Here is the resolution passed by the Washington Machinists Council last weekend:


WHEREAS, Initiative 732 is a ballot measure creating a new tax on carbon that purports to be a “revenue neutral” by lowering other taxes; and

WHEREAS, I-732’s approach – which is intended to appeal to conservatives – ignores the fact that simply making it more expensive to pollute will not magically build the infrastructure necessary to convert to a clean-energy economy that allows people to live more sustainably; and

WHEREAS, I-732 ignores the revenue crisis the State of Washington with chronic underfunding of public schools, universities, transportation and other critical services that citizens want and need to maintain our quality of life; and

WHEREAS, I-732 ignores the disproportionate negative consequences of climate change on communities of color and low-income communities; and

WHEREAS, polls already show that I-732 is doomed to failure if it reaches the ballot; and

WHEREAS, I-732 sponsor and Carbon Washington founder Yoram Bauman engages in divisive partisan rhetoric, recently telling The New York Times, “I am increasingly convinced that the path to climate action is through the Republican Party… The Left (has) an unyielding desire to tie everything to bigger government and a willingness to use race and class as political weapons to pursue that desire;” and

WHEREAS, the urgency of climate change – as Washington is already experiencing the devastating impacts through wildfires and droughts – demands unity and collaboration, not the partisan bickering associated with I-732; and

WHEREAS, the Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy, a broad coalition that brings together organized labor, environmental and business interests, community groups and other constituencies, opposes I-732. Instead, the Alliance is supporting solutions that – unlike I-732 — recognize:

1)  The cost of carbon emissions to our economy and communities, particular communities of color and those with low incomes that are currently disproportionately harmed by pollution,

2)  The need for a “Just Transition” to a clean economy that protects working families whose livelihoods depend on the fossil-fuel and carbon-producing industries, and

3)  The importance of creating good family-wage jobs in the new clean-energy economy.

WHEREAS, the Alliance is on the cusp of deciding whether to introduce its own ballot measure in 2016 that addresses climate change and carbon reduction in a way that acknowledges and addresses the above-mentioned concerns; therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the Washington Machinists Council go on record as formally opposing Initiative 732, and will communicate that opposition to all of its members.

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