Young Voices for a Sustainable Future
“I think there’s a huge opportunity there to form coalitions and use our labor power to take labor action and really push for things that seem to be immediately doable, like divesting from fossil fuels, like ending relationships with massive polluters, changes to travel policies, a whole range of things. […] Absolutely, I think our union should be using our labor power, especially as we go into contract negotiations next year, to get some wins on the climate.” – YWLP Interviewee
We Want to Hear from You
Thank you for wanting to learn more about our Young Worker Listening Project! If you’re a young worker 35 years or younger, there is still time to take our survey. The project extends through Fall 2021.
Where We Are Today
Since Earth Day to May Day, when we launched this project, our Young Worker group has spoken to 15 young workers in one-to-one interviews–including electricians and nurses, operating engineers and grocery workers, among others–about the current or future impacts of climate change on their work and the role of young workers in their workplace or union. We are continuing to collect survey responses and conduct interviews as we look toward group discussions in the fall intended to build a narrative strategy for the Young Worker Project of the Labor Network for Sustainability in collaboration with the Center for Story Based Strategy.
We want to hear from you! Your voice can be one that makes a pivotal and effective difference in your future, your workforce, and our planet.
Founded by lifelong trade unionist and environmental justice advocate Joe Uehlein and other co-founders, the Labor Network for Sustainability will lift up the unique perspectives of young workers through its Young Worker Listening Project. Also with the leadership of Executive Director Michael Leon Guerrero, an environmental justice organizer of more than 30 years, many national and local unions participate in LNS activities, such as the American Federation of Teachers, Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, Service Employees International Union, Amalgamated Transit Union, and many others.
Young workers have never known a world without climate catastrophe and the debates that come along with it. That’s where we come in. We want to ensure our voices get heard in the labor and climate space.
The Labor Network for Sustainability is excited to announce the launch of the Young Worker Listening Project (YWLP) to focus on the particular experiences and needs of young workers and to engage them more deeply in our organizing.
We have started by sending out this survey with the goal of creating a pipeline to identify & build leadership among young workers in the labor and climate movements. We would love to have your participation in this project as the role you play in this movement is key to amplifying the voices of young workers.
Young Worker Listening Project In Depth
What We’re Doing
Focusing on the particular experiences and needs of young workers and to engage them more deeply in our organizing. From our recent Just Transition Listening Project, we learned there are very real generational differences in both how people understand the intersection of labor and climate issues and what they need for a just transition.
Young workers have never known a world without climate catastrophe and the debates that come along with it. We are often caught in the middle of these debates, and have taken action through ongoing movement building as evidenced by the Climate Strikes of 2019. We face an uncertain future, with the health of our planet and communities and the security of our jobs becoming increasingly precarious, especially for those who hoped to have long-term careers in fossil fuels and other carbon-intensive industries. We know that it’s past time to create big and bold solutions and that our voices need to be central in these efforts. Our project intends to build the spokespeople the labor and climate movements need to articulate and fight for the visions of young workers.
This project has three goals:
- To amplify the voices of young workers
- To identify & develop leadership in the labor and climate movements
- To develop a narrative strategy through small group discussions in partnership with the Center for Story Based Strategy
How We’re Going to Do It
We are creating a pipeline to identify & build leadership among young workers in the labor and climate movements:
- Survey: Starting Thursday, April 29, we will be disseminating a survey to collect basic information about young workers’ experiences.
- One-on-one interviews: Over the summer, we will interview people identified from the survey responses to better understand what is important to them, and how they might engage more deeply in labor-climate activism.
- Small-group discussions: In the fall, we will begin small-group discussions with interviewees in partnership with the Center for Story Based Strategy.
How You Can Help
From now until September, if you’re under the age of 35, please take 5 minutes to complete this survey.
Also, please use this social media toolkit to help share the survey and spread the word about YWLP. As the project builds, the YWLP would like to continue to work with you and check-in on how this effort can advance our collective goals.
- Teresa Marie Oller, American Postal Workers Union, Portland, Oregon
- Travis Epes, American Postal Workers Union, Portland, Oregon
- Crystal Herrera, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 11
- Celina Barron, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 11
- Ryan Pollock, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 520
- Maria Brescia-Weiler, Labor Network for Sustainability
- Leo Blain, Labor Network for Sustainability
Young Worker Project Organizer: Joshua Dedmond, Labor Network for Sustainability