Young Worker Project

The Young Worker Project of Labor Network for Sustainability was founded in 2019, as the youth leadership was becoming more and more visible in the climate movement in part due to student climate strikes. Simultaneously, interviewees in our Just Transition Listening Project highlighted the need to bring this energy into the labor movement, both to ensure Labor’s survival and to account for the unique challenges and opportunities that come with navigating climate change at the onset of a career. This project exists because we believe that by uplifting the voices of young workers in their unions and organizations, and by connecting them to each other for deeper learning and collaboration, the labor movement can build power by expanding it’s membership, deepening member engagement, and partnering with other organizations and movements that are aligned in the struggle to make a living on a living planet.

Young Worker Listening Project

The YWP started with a listening project, building on the model of the Just Transition Listening Project and facilitated in collaboration with the Center for Story Based Strategy. Our young worker organizing committee, made up of union members who want to see their unions lead in the fight for climate justice, designed a survey and interview questions to understand how young workers are experiencing the intersection of economic and environmental crises and what they think we should do about it. Through a series of interviews, workshops and group discussions, we not only collected data for the listening project report, but began to cohere a group of young worker leaders who were eager to connect with each other and gain skills and knowledge for turning the labor movement into a powerful force for climate and racial justice. 

Young Worker Convergence on Climate

In 2022, we hosted our inaugural Young Worker Convergence on Climate in Los Angeles, bringing together nearly 100 young workers from 23 states (as well as DC and Canada) and more than 50 different worker and environmental organizations. They gathered to participate in workshops, to hear from our union comrades who have successfully built labor power in service of climate justice, to share strategies across states and sectors, and to build a collective vision for a climate justice movement led by and for workers. Since then we have continued to build this network of Young Workers organizing at the intersection of labor and climate justice. 

Missed us at the 2022 YWCC? Check out some of the discussions:


The Report of the Young Worker Listening Project

“Earth is a Hot Shop” – the forthcoming report of the Young Worker Listening Project – synthesizes key findings and recommendations from nearly 400 surveys, 70 in-depth interviews, and several discussions and workshops with young workers (ages 18-35), most of whom are labor union members in a range of different job sectors. With public support for labor unions now sky high, particularly among young people, Earth is a Hot Shop traces how today’s young workers have also become “the climate generation” amidst interrelated and overlapping systemic crises. Spurred to collective action, young workers have found labor unionism to be a critical path to more secure lives, even as they struggle to make their unions into political homes and forces for social change. Young workers know that another world is possible, but they know it requires their unions to embrace members’ energy, creativity, and leadership in the struggle for a sustainable and just future.


Get Involved!

To get more involved in the Young Worker Project, email Maria Brescia-Weiler at [email protected], or register here to join monthly Young Worker Network Calls!

Organizing Committee

  • Teresa Marie Oller, American Postal Workers Union Local 128
  • Travis Epes, American Postal Workers Union Local 128
  • Crystal Herrera, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 11
  • Amy Calendrella, International Union of Operating Engineers Local 98
  • Diego Valerio,  International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 716

Young Worker Project Staff

  • Celina Barron
  • Maria Brescia-Weiler
  • Oren Kadosh
  • Chris Litchfield