[by Jeremy Brecher]
It happens over and over again. A company proposes some big project, environmentalists oppose it, but unions say it will create jobs. Or a government agency proposes new regulations, environmentalists say it will halt pollution, but unions say it will destroy jobs. The result is billed as a conflict of “jobs vs. the environment.” The Keystone XL Pipeline, the “beyond coal” campaign, the fracking battle, and EPA regulation of greenhouse gasses under the Clean Air Act have all been treated as examples of that story. For those who want to overcome this division – to tell a different story — here are five levels at which it can be challenged: (more…)
By Joe Uehlein
The approach of the 40th anniversary of Earth Day on April 22 provides us an opportunity to reflect on the “long, strange trip” shared by the environmental movement and the labor movement over four decades here on Spaceship Earth.
A billion people participate in Earth Day events, making it the largest secular civic event in the world. But when it was founded in 1970, according to Earth Day’s first national coordinator Denis Hayes, “Without the UAW, the first Earth Day would have likely flopped!”
Less than a week after he first announced the idea for Earth Day, Senator Gaylord Nelson presented his proposal to the Industrial Union Department of the AFL-CIO. Walter Ruther, President of the UAW, enthusiastically donated $2000 to help kick the effort off – to be followed by much more. (more…)
As unemployment and hard times lead many to believe the issue is “protecting jobs vs. protecting the environment,” labor, religious, environmental, and community leaders in Connecticut decided to join together proactively to fight for job-creating climate protection progress while seeking win-win solutions for their disagreements. Their Connecticut Roundtable on Climate and Jobs, created with help from the Labor Network for Sustainability, is already impacting the state’s energy policy.
Connecticut Group Argues Climate, Jobs Are Not Issues in Opposition
By Kathryn Boughton, CTBulletin.com
There is often the supposition that job creation and environmental responsibility are mutually exclusive, but a growing effort in Connecticut may expose the problems with that prejudicial thought. (more…)
by Gus Speth and Joe Uehlein
During our many decades of work in the labor and environmental movements, there have been many battles that led to tensions between our communities. The Keystone Pipeline is only the most recent example. To help overcome these challenges, we recently convened two dozen leaders of labor, environmental, and other organizations for a frank conversation about the difficult times faced by ordinary workers and the dire environmental prospects we all face. We were motivated by a deep conviction that our communities could unite behind a common vision of a new economy that is good for working families and for the planet. We know that a top priority of most people is decent, dignified jobs that advance a truly sustainable economy. (more…)