The International Association of Machinists, a venerable union representing half-a-million workers in more than 200 manufacturing and transportation industries, passed a powerful resolution on climate change at its October national convention. The resolution notes that: “Our Union is especially vulnerable to the consequences of climate change,” with “large percentages of IAM members working in at-risk occupations and industries.” Further, “the threat to IAM members, and the entire human race, from unchecked climate change is undeniable.” The threat includes “massive disruptions to the global economy, national security, displacement of people in coastal communities, extreme heat, wildfires, drought, flooding, and other extreme weather-related events.”

The resolution called for concrete steps to address the impact of climate change on the IAM and more broadly. It establishes a union commission to conduct a year-long examination of the potential impact of climate change on the jobs and industries of IAM members. The commission will produce a report that includes “both broad plans and specific approaches for addressing jobs impacted by climate change” and “the steps needed for workers and communities to transition to new jobs and industries in the new green economy.”

The resolution also declares that the IAM will engage in “pro-active leadership” to address this crisis by “joining with other unions and organizations in the international climate change movement” to “actively defend workers’ jobs, rights, and lives,” as well as secure “a livable future for our children and future generations.”