Cindy Estrada is a long-serving Vice President of the UAW. Ramon Cruz is President of the Sierra Club. Coming from such different affiliations, it is striking that they have just published a joint article about Autoworkers and the Environmental Movement in the Nonprofit Quarterly. They write:
Moving the US to 100 percent electric vehicles (EVs) is an important part of addressing the nation’s top source of greenhouse gas emissions—the transportation sector. It is also an opportunity to reorganize the auto industry and win workplace democracy, especially in the South, where corporations and politicians have staunchly opposed union rights for workers with stark implications for worker wellbeing nationwide.
It’s only by coming together as a united labor, environmental, and racial justice movement that we will have enough power to take on corporations and their political allies and ensure that this transition benefits people working in the automotive industry, our communities, and our planet.
They say that the UAW and Sierra Club are “committed to working together to make the transition to a zero emissions future one with fair standards for workers and communities in the US.” They note that the Sierra Club and other environmental groups pushed to secure labor rights and standards for auto workers in Build Back Better Act. They point out the massive movement of auto production to the South, and argue “there is no path to unionize the auto industry in the South without a broad coalition of auto workers and environmental and racial justice organizations.” They call for building “mass popular support to re-unionize and decarbonize vehicle manufacturing in a way that benefits workers, our communities, and our planet.”