Labor unions work on many different issues that affect their members – from trade and immigration to civil rights and public health.
Michael Leon Guerrero, executive director of the Labor Network for Sustainability, says many unions are starting to talk about climate change.
“There are unions that are becoming very active in getting involved in climate action,” he says.
For example, the board of the 2-million-member Service Employees International Union has endorsed the Green New Deal, in part because many of its members live in communities that are disproportionately harmed by wildfires, hurricanes, and other climate-related disasters.
But Guerrero says other unions represent workers who worry about how climate policies will affect their jobs. For example, those in the fossil fuel industry are often concerned about the transition to clean energy.
“What happens to workers in communities that are going to lose their industries that they’ve been dependent on for so long?” he says. “How do we make sure that there’s a social safety net? And how do we make sure that there’s quality work on the other end of that transition?”
So Guerrero says it’s important that climate policies protect the Earth and protect workers, so no one is left behind.
Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media.