The Connecticut AFL-CIO has approved a resolution affirming that “climate change poses a direct threat to the well being of the lives and livelihoods of working people in Connecticut, the United States, and the world” and calling for bold action to achieve “a just transition to a clean energy economy that creates green jobs that fight climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions to a scientifically safe level.”
By approving this resolution during its annual convention held at the MGM Grand Hotel at Foxwoods, the CT AFL-CIO renewed its support for the CT Roundtable on Climate and Jobs, a collaborative effort launched in 2012 with the Interreligious Eco-Justice Network. The Connecticut Roundtable grew out of a presentation by LNS’s Joe Uehlein to Connecticut labor and environmental leaders. LNS’s Jeremy Brecher is a member of the Roundtable’s steering committee. It’s goal is to help strengthen the collaboration among Connecticut’s labor leaders, community organizations, environmentalists, and religious communities in advocating for state policies that are environmentally sustainable and produce good-paying jobs.
By providing opportunities for constituencies that have often disagreed on environmental issues to engage in dialogue, identify areas of common ground and embrace their diversity as a source of power, the Roundtable has played a constructive role in helping to shape the state’s energy policy.
John Harrity, Director of GrowJobsCT and President of the CT State Council of Machinists, which introduced the resolution, expressed his satisfaction with the Convention’s action:
“Here in Connecticut, we have a great vision for a sustainable, renewable energy future, creating jobs while improving our environment and facing the challenge of climate change. It is vitally important for labor to work together with our allies in religious communities and environmental groups to address what will be the most important challenge of our lifetimes. With this resolution, the state’s labor movement has affirmed our commitment to continue providing leadership to the Roundtable on Climate and Jobs.”
Rev. Thomas Carr, co-Chair of the Interreligious Eco-Justice Network, looks forward to the continued partnership with the CT AFL-CIO:
“We have a moral imperative to create good, sustainable jobs for all people, and to conserve, preserve, and restore the natural world. Good jobs and protecting the life that sustains us go hand in hand. Justice for workers and justice for the environment flow from a single Source of justice: God. It is time for labor, people of all religious traditions and spiritualities, environmentalists, and all people of good will to work together for the common good.”
Jeremy Brecher, CT-based historian and staff member of the national organization Labor Network for Sustainability, praised the CT AFL-CIO’s action:
“As the latest science paints a devastating picture of the impact of global climate change, and as Connecticut suffers serial devastation from climate-change related extreme weather events like Hurricane Sandy, organized labor here in our state is taking a crucial stand for climate protection. Too often, labor and its allies have been divided by the false opposition between jobs and the environment. With the Connecticut AFL-CIO’s resolution on climate change, labor is recognizing that converting Connecticut to a climate-safe economy can be a crucial way to fix our jobs crisis as well as our climate crisis. Labor is taking a stand on the issue that will shape Connecticut’s future, our children’s future, and the future of working people and the labor movement.”
Full text of the Resolution:
THE FOLLOWING RESOLUTION IS SUBMITTED BY THE CONNECTICUT STATE COUNCIL OF MACHINISTS:
A year ago the Connecticut AFL-CIO launched the Connecticut Roundtable on Climate and Jobs, an innovative partnership with Connecticut’s labor, environmental, and religious groups which advocates for public policies that address urgent concerns about climate change while creating good-paying jobs right here in our state, and
- the Roundtable has already helped labor, environmental, and religious constituencies to fight shoulder-to-shoulder for state energy policies that create jobs and protect the climate, including defense of Connecticut’s Renewable Portfolio Standard, and
- the Roundtable has made it possible for constituencies that have often disagreed on environmental issues to engage in respectful and constructive dialogue, including dialogue addressing differences over the state’s planned natural gas expansion, and
Whereas, the delegates to this convention understand:
- that climate change poses a direct threat to the wellbeing of the lives and livelihoods of working people in Connecticut, the United States, and the world, and
- that labor must take a leading role in addressing this local, national, and global threat, and
- that a respectful and productive dialogue with our religious, environmental, community and other allies is crucial for this effort,
Therefore, we enthusiastically endorse the continuing work of the Connecticut Roundtable on Climate and Jobs, and pledge
- to participate in on-going dialogue and collaboration for a just transition to a clean energy economy that creates green jobs that fight climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions to a scientifically safe level, and
- to encourage Connecticut’s labor leaders and rank-and-file members to participate in the Roundtable, and
- to collaborate with the Roundtable to develop an educational program with presentations to union locals and Central Labor Councils on labor and climate change.