Just Transition: Love It, Hate It.
You’ve Heard the Term, Now Hear the Story

Hosted by Todd E. Vachon
Faculty Coordinator, Labor Education Action Research Network (LEARN)
Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations

  • Host, Todd Vachon, Faculty Coordinator, Labor Education Action Research Network (LEARN), Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations
  • Les Leopold, Author of “The Man Who Hated Work and Loved Labor: The Life and Times of Tony Mazzocchi,” and Director of the Labor Institute and the Public Health Institute
  • José Bravo, Executive Director, Just Transition Alliance and long-time leader on just transition, climate justice and chemicals issues as they relate to environmental justice communities and labor
  • Jenice View, Associate Professor at George Mason University and former Executive Director and Education and Training Director for the Just Transition Alliance from 2000-2007
  • Dave Campbell, Oil worker, Secretary-Treasurer, United Steelworkers Local 675 and founding member of the Just Transition Alliance
  • Casey Camp-Horinek, Environmental Ambassador, Elder and Hereditary Drumkeeper of the Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma and founding member of the Just Transition Alliance

Special thank you to LNS Board Member Ananda Lee Tan for his support in organizing this event.


“So when we’re thinking about just transition, then we really are talking about not just jobs, we’re really talking about changing the face of society and I think that the three of you have posed that to the audience this evening and I want to thank you all very, very much for doing it.”
Bill Fletcher, Jr., Author and Syndicated Columnist

June 24 at the Just Transition Listening Project Webinar, “Black Lives and Just Transition,” speaking to  Jhacova Williams, Economist, EPI’s Program on Race, Ethnicity, and the Economy (PREE); Tanya Wallace-Gobern, Executive Director, National Black Worker Center Project; and Nia Winston, General Vice President, UNITE HERE

The need has never been more urgent.

The need for a large-scale Just Transition for workers and communities has never been more urgent. In April alone, more than 30 million workers applied for unemployment. Many face the likelihood that they will never go back to their previous jobs. The Coronavirus pandemic and the economic crisis developing as a result offer an important barometer of whether and how we are prepared socially, politically and economically for massive changes to our economy. The shift to the green economy we need in order to confront the climate crisis will require economic shifts on a similar scale.  

On May 27, 2020, the Labor Network for Sustainability and partners launched the Just Transition Listening Project, kicking off “The Pandemic, the Economic Crisis and Just Transition,” featuring renowned linguist, historian and philosopher Noam Chomsky and economic experts Thea Lee, President of the Economic Policy Institute and Robert Pollin, Co-Director of the Political Economy Research Institute. Maria Castaneda, LNS Board Member, Secretary-Treasure of 1199 Service Employees International-United Healthcare Workers East gave the opening remarks.

Join Us for this Important National Conversation

Over the course of four months, we will continue to gather stories of workers and community members as they experience extreme changes in their local economy—the impact of plant closures, jobs lost to automation, company downsizing and market changes, industries impacted by climate change. 

We will learn what is in place and what is lacking in government, private sector and community support . We will learn how people adjusted or are adjusting to the changes in their life and work, aspirations for their community and the vision for their local and our global economy. 

These stories will be made available online, through social media and summarized in a published report for policy makers with our findings and recommendations. 

A series of webinars will also follow every four weeks after addressing different questions related to Just Transition, including perspectives from workers, the environmental justice movement, indigenous peoples and international movements. 

The Just Transition Listening Project will offer us important lessons, shared through the experience of workers and community members who have been through such transitions, are going through them now and who face them in the near future. 



Organizing Committee

  • Lisa Abbott, Deputy Organizing Director for Just Transition, Kentuckians for the Commonwealth
  • Monica Atkins, Southeast Regional, Just Transition Organizer, Climate Justice Alliance
  • J. Mijin Cha, Assistant professor of Urban and Environmental Policy, Occidental College
  • Jeff Johnson, Retired President, Washington State Labor Council
  • Betony Jones, Principal, Inclusive Economics
  • Ananda Lee Tan, Board of Directors, Labor Network for Sustainability
  • Paolo Mutia, Sustainable Food and Agriculture Campaign Associate, Friends of the Earth USA
  • Vivian Price, Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies, California State University Dominguez Hills
  • Basav Sen, Project Director, Climate Policy, Institute for Policy Studies
  • Dimitris Stevis, Professor of Political Science and Center for Environmental Justice, Colorado State University
  • Todd Vachon, Postdoctoral Associate, Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations
  • Chaz Wheelock, Tribal Liaison, Indigenous Environmental Network
  • Anthony Rogers-Wright, Green New Deal Policy Lead, Climate Justice Alliance

Project Advisors

  • Harriet Applegate, Executive Secretary, North Shore Labor Federation (Cleveland)
  • Maria Castaneda, Secretary Treasurer, 1199 SEIU, Hospital and Healthcare Workers Union East
  • Sarita Gupta, Director, Future of Work and Workers Program, Ford Foundation
  • Richard Lipsitz, President, Western New York Area Labor Council
  • Cynthia Phinney, President, Maine AFL-CIO