PITTSBURGH (July 1, 2019) — Leaders from the BlueGreen Alliance last week released their platform to create good-paying jobs and fight income inequality by addressing the climate crisis at the headquarters of the United Steelworkers (USW) in Pittsburgh. The historic platform — entitled Solidarity for Climate Action — would put workers at the forefront of the ongoing discussion about how America will tackle climate change. It is the first such comprehensive plan to address climate change put forward by America’s largest unions.
“This historic moment in labor and environmental cooperation is the culmination of more than a decade of work,” said USW International President Leo W. Gerard. “The platform we are unveiling today is a roadmap to address both the climate crisis and growing income inequality in a way that leaves no workers or communities behind. The USW is proud to be a part of this effort, and I urge leaders at every level of government to help us make this plan a reality.”
“The only way we can tackle the climate crisis is with a broad coalition working to build and grow the clean energy economy that works for every community,” said Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune. “The Sierra Club is proud to be a founding member of the BlueGreen Alliance and prouder still to support this platform to tackle the dual crises of climate change and inequality while creating new family-sustaining careers across the country.”
The “Solidarity for Climate Action” platform addresses the dual crises of climate change and income inequality in a number of ways, including:
• Rapid reductions of greenhouse gas emissions — based on the latest science and in line with our fair share — to put America on a pathway of reducing its emissions to net zero by 2050 and massive immediate investments in clean and renewable technology and energy efficiency across all sectors;
• Efforts to increase union density across the country through strong support of the right to organize throughout the economy, including in clean technology;
• Rebuilding and modernize America’s infrastructure and making our communities more resilient;
• Revitalizing and expanding the public sector workforce, ensuring staffing levels are sufficient to accomplish clean energy, resilience, adaptation, and crisis response objectives;
• A national strategy to lead in clean and emerging technology production and supply chain development, including major investments in domestic manufacturing and innovation, penalizing offshoring, and a commitment to at least doubling funding of clean technology R&D and manufacturing;
• Community benefit, workforce, and other similar agreements that improve access to jobs and career paths;
• Effective and equitable access to high-quality employment, training, and advancement for workers from low-income households, those historically under-represented on the basis of race, gender, and other criteria, and those adversely impacted or dislocated by technological change;
• Guaranteed pensions and a bridge of wage support, healthcare, and retirement security until an impacted worker either finds new employment or reaches retirement; and
• Ensuring trade agreements are enforceable, fair for all workers and benefit the environment—including the climate—and requirements for fair and safe working conditions throughout global supply chains.
“As we look to America’s energy future, we must spend as much time planning for how current energy sector workers will navigate this shift as we do implementing policies that will address climate change,” said D. Michael Langford, President of the Utility Workers Union of America. “With the right approach, we can take significant steps that put America on the path to net zero emissions, while creating high-quality jobs that bolster the middle class. We look forward to working with state and federal lawmakers, communities, and other stakeholders to bring this vision of an inclusive, solutions-based approach to life.”
“The BlueGreen Alliance platform is a framework for urgent action with the specific recommendations needed to address climate change while ensuring the clean energy economy supports good union jobs,” said SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry. “SEIU members—whose homes have been destroyed by wildfires or floods, and who treat children whose asthma has been exacerbated by dirty air—support immediate, bold action on climate change.”
“To build a better future for all Americans we have to have a plan to fight climate change that works for everyone and this is it,” said Mike Williams, Interim Co-Executive Director of the BlueGreen Alliance. “This isn’t going to be easy, but it is necessary to secure the future of our nation and planet. We urge leaders from across the country to embrace this platform and we look forward to working with them to build a stronger, fairer, cleaner economy that works for all Americans.”
Learn more at the BlueGreen Alliance’s Solidarity for Climate Action site.