Image Source: Antonio Rodriguez-

A pair of new commentaries by Making a Living on a Living Planet’s editor Jeremy Brecher provides dozens of examples of how unions in the most diverse industries and occupations are creating their own Green New Deal-type programs in localities around the country.

The commentaries describe initiatives by unions and workers across the entire workforce, including

  • Electrical workers in San Diego creating solar and wind energy installations, electric vehicle charging stations, and training programs for young workers.
  • Members of the Laborers’ union building windmills, light rail public transit, solar power plants, and public housing energy efficiency retrofits in locations around the country.
  • Minneapolis janitors striking for a green training fund.
  • A labor-climate-community coalition initiated by the building trades in Massachusetts winning federal funding for what they call the Somerville Green New Deal.
  • Union-led coalitions in Illinois, Connecticut, New York, and Maine reshaping the laws and policies of their states to create jobs and equality by moving to climate-safe energy.

The occupations involved run from loggers to professors and from port truck drivers to nurses. Unions involved include, among many others, the IBEW, LIUNA, and SEIU.

According to the commentaries,

Workers are critical to fixing our economy because they have the skills and knowledge to actually create the Green New Deal. They are already showing that we can start achieving GND goals from climate-safe energy to good jobs to a more equal society right now. And they represent an organized force that can press for the interests of ordinary people in both the economic and the political arena.

Workers are showing that they don’t have to wait to start addressing the problems we face. Unions, labor councils, and other worker organizations can start addressing them right now – in fact, they are already doing so. The next step could be to recognize – and celebrate – this growing wave of constructive activity. To start sharing with each other what workers are doing and what we can learn from it. And ultimately to combine them to create labor’s own Green New Deal from Below.