Just Transition–Transformative Strategies on the Frontlines of Struggle


In case you missed it, on Wednesday, October 7, 2020, at 7 p.m. Eastern, the Labor Network for Sustainability and friends hosted “Just Transition: Transformative Strategies on the Frontlines of Struggle,” the fifth in a series of webinars as part of the Just Transition Listening Project.

Moderated by Jeff Johnson, former president, of the Washington State Labor Council (AFL-CIO), the panel featured some of the most visionary leaders from Black, Brown and Indigenous communities across North America (Turtle Island) who have been immersed in long-term campaigns and organizing strategies to build local, economic alternatives to replace the extractive, industrial economy:

  • Rosalinda Guillen, Community 2 Community
  • Elizabeth Yeampierre, UPROSE
  • Enei Begaye, Native Movement
  • Kali Akuno, Cooperation Jackson

to learn about the barriers that exist within our movement brought on by racial inequities
and the frustrations faced by workers and communities who are directly affected.

Special thank you to Ananda Lee Tan and Joshua Dedmond for bringing these key figures together to help expand our thinking in this struggle.

“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

Past Events

Just Transition: Transformative Strategies on the Frontlines of Struggle

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

Black Workers and Just Transition

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
  • Anthony Rogers-Wright, Green New Deal Policy Lead, Climate Justice Alliance

In Memory of Chaz Wheelock

We dedicate this issue of Making a Living on a Living Planet to Charles “Chaz” Tsyaktati Wheelock, one of the co-founders of the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN). 

“(Chaz) is making his final journey to be with his Oneida relatives who have gone before,” says a tribute to him by IEN. 

Most recently, Chaz was a member of LNS’ Just Transition Listening Project Organizing Committee. “In these difficult times we need leaders that can bridge divides between people,” says LNS Executive Director Michael Leon Guerrero, “Chaz was one. He was working with LNS to strengthen the ties between indigenous people and the labor movement. We will very much miss Chaz and we send our sincere condolences to his family and community.”

If you also knew him and would like to leave a message for him on his tribute wall, you can do so here.

Rest in Power, Chaz.

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