Resolution #4

A Resolution to Address the Climate Crisis and Inequality Crisis and Create Union Jobs

WHEREAS, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has determined humanity has less than twelve years to accomplish massive reductions in carbon emissions to avert the worst effects of climate instability; and

WHEREAS, climate change poses an immediate and long-term threat to all working class people, our communities and our economic security; and

WHEREAS, workers, people of color, indigenous people and their families and communities suffer disproportionately from environmental degradation and climate change; and

WHEREAS, climate change is already harming working families and vulnerable populations through extreme hurricanes, wildfire, drought and flooding, sea level rise, ocean warming and acidification, increased stress on the agricultural sector, health impacts like heat stroke and the spread of infectious diseases;  and

WHEREAS, climate change will exacerbate affordable housing shortages, forced migration of workers and destruction of working class housing stock; and

WHEREAS, without taking concrete action now to address the climate crisis, the well-being and economic future of generations of people will be severely and irreversibly jeopardized, small rural communities and large urban cities alike, and

WHEREAS, if climate action is to address inequality and create good jobs, the labor movement must prioritize the work of shaping climate policies in order to expand collective bargaining rights and create green union careers; ensure the inclusion of labor and job quality standards in these policies and ensure the inclusion of a just transition for any workers negatively impacted; and

WHEREAS, workers in existing jobs, including firefighters, nurses, energy workers, building and construction trades workers, public transit workers, manufacturing sector workers, fishermen, letter carriers and many in the public sector are already mitigating the health and environmental effects of climate change, preparing our infrastructure for sea level rise and advancing Maine’s clean energy economy through a variety of ways; and

WHEREAS, the Maine AFL-CIO, in partnership with the Maine Building & Construction Trades, IBEW, Ironworkers and other unions and allied groups, has focused on developing state policy responses and worker protections for climate related legislation, most recently with the successful passage of the Maine Green New Deal bill which will promote registered apprenticeship and help deepen union market share in new energy construction projects; and

WHEREAS, the time is NOW for labor to engage with climate policies that will be coming out at the state and federal level; now therefore be it

RESOLVED that the Maine AFL-CIO will continue its Labor Climate Jobs work to create policy responses, worker protections and a set of standards from the Maine labor community regarding state climate change policy ensuring the concerns of all affiliate Unions are adequately addressed; and be it further

RESOLVED that the Maine AFL-CIO will convene affiliate unions for ongoing discussion about these issues, including the preservation of marine industries,  by bringing together the Lobster union,  Building Trades unions and others; and now be it finally

RESOLVED that the Maine AFL-CIO will push to include the following measures in climate policies developed at the state and federal level:

  • Expand collective bargaining and ensure the creation of union jobs through  card check neutrality agreements, prevailing wage requirements, project labor agreements, the use of provisions of the 2019 PRO (Protecting the Right to Organize) Act, and the requirement of direct partnerships with joint labor-management registered apprenticeship programs; and
  • Prioritize projects, union career opportunities for Maine workers and investments in working class, rural, people of color and indigenous communities historically disproportionately impacted by pollution, environmental injustice and economic insecurity; and
  • Include a fair and equitable Just Transition for workers impacted by a transitioning economy, including but not limited to workers in power generation, that will make them whole, including a fund to provide access to sustainable jobs and education opportunities, income protection, bridges to retirement, and
  • Include incentives for domestic manufacturing like Buy American and Buy Clean provisions; and work to make the supply chain for any projects as strongly union as possible; and
  • Include adequate resources for any public agency expected to enforce the provisions of climate legislation.
  • Include incentives for the building of publicly owned, union built affordable housing.

Submitted by: the Maine AFL-CIO Executive Board