On Friday, June 28 through Sunday, June 30, 2019, the Labor Network for Sustainability will hold its Third National Labor Convergence on Climate in Chicago.
This Convergence will be a place where labor people can strategize about how to enhance labor’s role in the climate protection movement.Nominate Yourself or Others
Merriam-Webster defines “con·ver·gence” as “moving toward union.” The Labor Network for Sustainability organizes Labor Convergences on Climate to help lead the movement to create better jobs for workers now and a better environment for both their communities and our planet’s future. They aim to help create a powerful voice within organized labor to advocate for good jobs through a just transition to a climate-safe, worker-friendly economy in a timeline consistent with the scientific consensus.
The Convergences encourage climate protection advocates to organize locally and nationally in their own unions; advocate for climate solidarity with workers around the world; build cooperation among climate protection advocates and caucuses in different unions; educate labor’s leadership and rank and file on the realities of climate change; transform the discourse and ultimately the policy of the labor movement; and inspire local labor unions and activists to engage with climate and climate justice organizations and activists in their own communities. They are building a strong national movement that can resist the attacks on labor, communities, and environment.
- Promoting a public dialogue and debate within labor and climate movements.
- Developing a comprehensive policy agenda for climate action with a Just Transition.
- Providing a national vehicle and strategy for unions and union activists to take action on climate change.
The First Labor Convergence on Climate was held on January 28-29, 2016. It approved a set of guiding principles, created a new network within the labor movement, and adopted a program to lead the labor movement on a climate change agenda.
The theme of the Second Labor Convergence on Climate (ClimaCon2), held September 23-24, 2017 was “Building Worker Power to Confront Climate Change.” It sought to provide a space for labor’s growing base of elected leaders, organizers and rank and file activists to learn about their respective efforts, and update our organizing priorities and strategies for the next year. More than 130 people participated with representation from 17 unions, three state federations/central labor councils, and six labor support organizations (labor centers, policy groups, etc.), as well as key environmental and economic justice allies. Read the report »
In 2018 LNS began to hold a series of regional Convergences on Climate. The first was held on July 28, 2018 in Los Angeles. Feeling the urgency of both looming economic and environmental crises, the LA event was the launch of an honest dialogue around climate change for labor, “from labor to labor,” as Erica Zeitlin of AFSCME DC 36 put it.
At the outset of the gathering, the high stakes were made clear, captured in the words of Dave Campbell, USW 675, “organized labor needs to be at the table on climate change, or they will be the meal.” Hosted by AFSCME DC 36 and co-sponsored by seven union locals, the Convergence was the first regional event in concert with LNS. LA nurses, refinery, electrical and entertainment industry workers were part of a planning committee.
In addition, representatives from local unions of teachers, cinematographers, alongside construction, energy, sheet metal manufacturing, city and country workers, gathered together, as well as letter carriers, social workers, among others who attended the event. Also, important, ally environmental and environmental justice organizations with deep relationships with labor were in the room. Labor Network for Sustainability noted this work out of self-interest as labor – environmentalists aren’t job killers, climate change is the biggest job killer.
On November 17, 2018 the Labor Network for Sustainability organized the Northeast Regional Labor Convergence on Climate Change. The convergence brought together over 90 labor leaders and allies from eight states across the northeast to discuss labor’s role in the urgently needed transition to a just and sustainable economy that both protects the climate as well as the lives and livelihoods of workers and frontline communities that are threatened by climate catastrophe. Co-sponsored by the Labor Education Action Research Network and the Rutgers AAUP-AFT, the day-long intensive strategy session was convened at the Labor Education Center at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Attendees included nurses, carpenters, electrical workers, teachers, communication workers, transportation workers, postal workers, food service workers, public employees, and service industry workers from over 20 different unions. Learn more about the NE Labor Convergence on Climate »
The Third National Labor Convergence on Climate promises to be the largest and most exciting yet. Stay tuned for more in future issues of Making a Living on a Living Planet.
Nominate an Attendee, Space is Limited
Want to attend the LNS Third National Labor Convergence on Climate or nominate another person to attend? Complete this form to submit your nomination. We will accept up to five nominations per nominator. All names will be submitted to the National Planning Committee.