The Pandemic, the Economic Crisis and Just Transition

Join us for the Launch of the Just Transition Listening Project!

Featured Speakers:

Noam Chomsky, Linguist, historian, philosopher

Considered the founder of modern linguistics, Noam Chomsky is one of the most cited scholars in modern history. His groundbreaking writings have made distinct contributions to the development of the field. Chomsky is also internationally recognized as one of the most critically engaged public intellectuals alive today. He has written more than 100 books, his most recent being “Requiem for the American Dream: The 10 Principles of Concentration of Wealth & Power.”

Thea Lee, President, Economic Policy Institute

Thea Lee is President of the Economic Policy Institute, the premier national economic research and think tank focused on the needs of low and middle-income workers in economic policy discussions.  Prior to assuming the position as President of EPI, Thea served as the Deputy Chief of Staff at the national AFL-CIO, overseeing a broad policy agenda addressing workers’ rights, inequality, and global trade. Over her career, she has served as a voice for workers’ issues in testimony before Congress and in numerous television and radio.

Robert Pollin, Co-Director, Political Economy Research Institute

Robert Pollin is Distinguished University Professor of Economics and Co-Director of the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. His books include The Living Wage: Building a Fair Economy (co-authored 1998) and Greening the Global Economy (2015). He has consulted the U.S. Department of Energy, the International Labour Organization, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization and numerous non-governmental organizations globally on various aspects of building high-employment green economies. He was selected by Foreign Policy magazine as one of the “100 Leading Global Thinkers for 2013.”

On May 27, 2020 the Labor Network for Sustainability and partners will launch the Just Transition Listening Project. Over the course of the next four months we will gather the stories of workers and community members as they experience extreme changes in their local economythe impact of plant closures, jobs lost to automation, company downsizing and market changes, industries impacted by climate change.

The need for a large-scale Just Transition for workers and communities has never been more urgent as more than 30 million workers have applied for unemployment in the past month. 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.  

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. 

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. 

The JTLP will launch on May 27 with a webinar: The Pandemic, the Economic Crisis and Just Transition. An amazing panel that will include 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 will offer their perspectives and projections of how the economic crisis will unfold in the months and years to come and what we must do about it. 

A series of webinars will 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. 

Please join us for this important national conversation.

Register to join the Zoom Meeting

Wednesday, May 27, 2020
8pm ET/7pm CT/6pm MT/5pm PT

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