Don’t tell me what happens next: Machinists and dock workers will carry signs saying, “Save The Meadows”

October 13, 2013


You rarely feel the love when you walk into a labor-environmental pow-wow.  One side wants money and jobs; the other wants bugs and trees – or so goes the myth.  But the Connecticut AFL-CIO sees that there is no vaccine against climate change.  Its workers will pay the same price as the rest of the populace, so the organization voted in a resolution calling for a transition to a clean-energy economy with green jobs.

Here is news release, with links to the resolution itself.  One wonders: Will hard-core machinists and thin environmentalists eventually do a group hug?  Miracles happen.

afl-cioLEDYARD, CT – The Connecticut AFL-CIO has approved a resolution ( affirming 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 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 Rountable on Climate and Jobs helps to 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:

John Harity

John Harrity

“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

Jeremy Brecher

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.”

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About Charles Redfern

Charles Redfern is a writer, activist, and clergyman living in Connecticut with his wife and family. He's currently writing two books, with more in his head.

View all posts by Charles Redfern


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