In 2022, the Labor Network for Sustainability helped build solidarity between environmentalists and Santa Ana, CA factory workers who stood up to their employer, Kingspan’s, so-called ‘green’ manufacturing processes that pollute indoor air and the local watershed. Kingspan factory workers are organizing to demand safe working conditions, including addressing unhealthy levels of PM2.5 pollution inside the workplace that they measured in collaboration with UC Irvine pollution scientist Dr. Shahir Masri. The workers also blew the whistle on Kingspan for misrepresenting its daily operations and water pollution clean-up efforts to the CalEPA. Also, in October 2021, a majority of Kingspan’s Santa Ana workers delivered a petition to managers demanding a fair process to decide whether to form a union.
The Labor Network for Sustainability hosted a Zoom teach-in with these workers, Dr. Shahir Masri, and environmental, community, and Labor allies to build solidarity and momentum for this campaign. Following the teach-in, 45 local and national environmental groups signed onto a letter demanding that the Green Building Community stop partnering with Kingspan until the international building materials company cleans up its act. This action was part of a larger campaign mounting pressure on Kingspan in what is truly a modern day David and Goliath story– one with true economic, environmental, and worker justice at its core.
For updates on this campaign, follow @CleanUpKingspan on Twitter.