The Labor Network for Sustainability is spearheading a climate movement solidarity initiative for United Auto Workers (UAW) currently bargaining a union contract with Big 3 Auto companies (General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis). The initiative launched on August 14 with a Climate Movement open letter to Big 3 Auto CEOs, urging them to ensure that the auto industry’s clean energy transition is a just transition by accepting UAW’s contract demands. So far, the letter has been signed by over 70 organizations, including Sunrise Movement, Greenpeace USA, 350.org, Sierra Club, and Climate Justice Alliance.
The letter states:
Within the next few years — the span of this next contract — lies humanity’s last chance to navigate a transition away from fossil fuels, including away from combustion engines. With that shift comes an opportunity for workers in the United States to benefit from a revival of new manufacturing, including electric vehicles (EVs) and collective transportation like buses and trains, as a part of the renewable energy revolution.
The EV transition cannot be a “race to the bottom” that further exploits workers. We call on you to honor the demands of the UAW.
The letter launch was followed by an August 17 UAW Solidarity Call cosponsored by over a dozen climate organizations. The webinar, which featured Third Act Founder Bill McKibben and UAW special guests, laid out the climate movement’s stake in the UAW contract fight and how climate activists could take action in support of workers building the clean energy future.
“UAW’s contract fight for good benefits, a just transition, union EV jobs with equal pay for equal work, and a clean energy transition that benefits workers and communities is the climate movement’s fight as well.” said LNS Staffer Sydney Ghazarian, during her opening remarks on the call.
During the call, Greenpeace USA Senior Campaigner Ben Smith led hundreds of audience members in leaving voicemails for Big 3 Auto CEOs, in solidarity with auto workers (leave your own voicemail by calling 318-300-1249. You can find talking points and more ways to take action in the UAW Solidarity Call Quick Action Guide here).
“I am so proud and excited to see all of this support, because this a make or break moment for ensuring the clean energy transition is a just transition, and we need all hands on deck– tonight, in the next few weeks, and until we win a fair contract,” said Sydney.
UAW’s contract with Big 3 Auto expires on September 14, and a strike has been authorized by 97% of Big 3 workers voting in favor. Climate and social justice organizations have joined with LNS to continue organizing in solidarity with UAW, in pursuit of a fair contract.