Unions Strategize to Stop Climate Change and Create Jobs

NEW YORK —250 unionists and their environmental allies met March 16th at AFSCME District Council 37 headquarters in New York City to discuss a strategy for the city to address global climate change issues and follow up the People’s Climate March that took place months earlier.  The meeting was titled “Our City, Our Climate.”


AFSCME, the New York State Nurses Association, SEIU 1199 Hospital and Health Care members, Transport Workers, SEIU 32B-J members, and Communications Workers Local 1180 attended the meeting to form a strategy to lobby city council and New York state legislature. The goal is to stop climate change and create jobs in the process said Climate Change Chair Jon Foster.


“Climate Change is both a moral issue and a labor issue,” Foster said at the meeting. According to Foster, it’s a labor issue because working men and women provide aid to those who have been negatively affected by devastating effects climate change and because initiatives to counter climate change can create new and better jobs.


For example, a report indicated that 70 percent of NYC’s carbon dioxide emissions are from large buildings. The city council is discussing legislation to “train building operators in energy efficiency.”


Mandating the installation of new roofs, windows, and heating plants would create about 39,000 construction jobs every year. Other job-creating green projects the unionists and their allies are supporting include installing windmills at schools and increasing the range of bus transit.


In addition to added jobs, another benefit of the green projects is the protection and enhancement of peoples’ health.


The final goal is to educate the public and mobilize a mass movement to combat climate change in NYC. Other unionists want to expand the movement to other cities. Philadelphia might hold future meetings.


The next meeting is scheduled for March 31 in NYC.


Source: PAI