BlueGreen Alliance

Good Jobs, Clean Environment, Green Economy

Oct 1

The Green Jobs Source for Wednesday, October 1, 2014

YOU SHOULD KNOW…











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A new report says one in three U.S. school children are at risk from a chemical catastrophe. Over 19.6 million kids in 48 states are in “vulnerability zones” and half of the students are in schools located in more than one zone. (Center for Effective Government)

WHAT’S TRENDING 

Taxing carbon – An editorial says a well-designed carbon tax could cut carbon pollution at little to no economic cost. (Bloomberg)

Fighting wildfires – An opinion piece says that Congress should start funding wildfires as natural disasters, instead of getting funding from the U.S. Forest Service. (Los Angeles Times)

Boosting renewables – A wind and solar conference in Nebraska aims to highlight opportunities in the wind and solar industries. (WNAX)

Focus on climate change – A group of South Florida community leaders are meeting to discuss regional plans for adapting to climate change at the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Leadership Summit. (Daytona Beach News-Journal) 

That’s a lot of walruses – Walruses that aren’t able to find sea ice in the Arctic waters are coming ashore in record numbers in Alaska. An estimated 35,000 walruses were seen in one spot near an Inupiat Eskimo village. (Economic Times)

BLUEGREEN LINKS

The Hill: Administration launches climate competition

Seattle Post Intelligencer: British Columbia stonewalls on mine disaster: America take note

New York Times: India’s Environment at Risk

Planetsave: US Can Cut Carbon Pollution by 40% and Create 2.7 Million Clean Energy Jobs

Winona Daily News (MN): The future's in the sky: Renewable energy tour to feature Winona County locations

That's it for The Source today. Don't forget to tell your friends about this great resource. You can sign up here.

Sep 30

The Green Jobs Source for Tuesday, September 30, 2014

YOU SHOULD KNOW… 

Supporters of efforts to address climate change are taking the electoral battle to the states by aiming to secure majorities of leaders who support climate action in legislatures in states like Oregon, Washington and Colorado. (Politico)

WHAT’S TRENDING 

Lax safeguards – An EPA Inspector General report says the agency doesn’t do enough to stop hundreds of hazardous chemicals from getting into waterways from sewer plants. (The Hill)

Evening the playing field – Former Colorado Governor Bill Ritter says that it’s time to even the playing field for renewable energy by fixing the tax code. (Wall Street Journal)

Bay State clean energy – Gov. Deval Patrick of Massachusetts announced that clean energy jobs in the state grew by 10.5 percent last year. (WWLP)

Solar schools – In New York City, 24 schools will be getting solar panels as part of the push to reduce the city’s carbon pollution emissions 80 percent by 2050. (New York Daily News)

Drought and climate change – A new study from Stanford says that California’s long drought is linked to greenhouse gases and climate change. (San Jose Mercury News)

BLUEGREEN LINKS

Think Progress: Bipartisan Bill Would Help Out-Of-Work Coal Miners Find New Jobs

TIME: The Climate Deniers’ Newest Argument

New York Times: California Is Burning

The Hill: Pelosi: Passable climate bill would be priority for Dems

Great Lakes Echo: Air near chemical plant remains polluted long after it closed

New York Times: Scientists Trace Extreme Heat in Australia to Climate Change

MassLive (MA): Clean energy jobs: Northeast Solar in Hatfield says business is growing, and solar offers an answer to high electricity prices

MLive (MI): Company at renewable energy center in Muskegon developing revolutionary steam-to-electricity product

That's it for The Source today. Don't forget to tell your friends about this great resource. You can sign up here.

Sep 29

The Green Jobs Source for September 29, 2014

YOU SHOULD KNOW…

The U.S. is facing international pressure to put our money where our mouth is on climate change, but President Obama faces an uphill battle to get the funding needed for the U.S. to contribute to a $100 billion fund to help poor countries adapt to climate impacts. (The Hill)

WHAT’S TRENDING

This week – The EPA will be honing in on the Clean Power Plan and a rule to protect the nation’s waters as the comment periods for them start to wind down. And, public interest groups will push for stronger health and safety protections by increasing enforcement of safeguards already on the books. (The Hill)

Cutting ties- Google became the latest company to sever ties with the ultra-right wing American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) because they say ALEC is “literally lying” about climate change. (Tech Times)

Carbon pricing – This piece examines the political realities facing the U.S. when it comes to putting a price on carbon pollution. (New York Times)

Oh, hey, more gridlock! – A proposal from Republican Senator Lamar Alexander may make the National Labor Relations Board as deadlocked as Congress. (Los Angeles Times)

Economic risk of climate change – Kate Gordon focuses on the economic risks of climate change that America will face if we do not act. (Wall Street Journal)

Badger State – In Wisconsin, utilities are still trying to push for policies that will limit the ability of homeowners and businesses to adopt solar energy. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

Lake Erie – As our climate changes, it will make it harder to protect the Great Lakes from dangerous algae blooms—like the one that left hundreds of thousands of residents along Lake Erie without water earlier this summer. (Toledo Blade)

Congrats – United Steelworkers International President Leo W. Gerard was named by President Obama to the Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations. (Insurance News Net)

BLUEGREEN LINKS

New York Times: A Global Climate Treaty Is Crucial

The Hill: European Cars 38% dirtier than standards say

Louisville Courier-Journal: Indiana boosts use of renewable energy

New York Times: A Group Shout on Climate Change

Midwest Energy News: Advocates: FirstEnergy efficiency cuts part of larger pattern

Philadelphia Inquirer: Change in the air

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Posted In: Minnesota
Sep 25

The Green Jobs Source for September 25, 2014

YOU SHOULD KNOW…

Many people across the country are enjoying the fall season that unfortunately has been warming over the past few years. (Climate Central)

WHAT’S TRENDING

Going big here at home – Hundreds gathered in South Buffalo to take part in an announcement by Governor Cuomo that the Western Hemisphere’s biggest solar facility is coming to New York. (WKBW)

Protect the Great Lakes – Lessons learned by the algae bloom this summer have experts working to figure out how best to reduce the toxins suspected to have caused the contamination. (Wall Street Journal)

Dollars & cents – In an upcoming speech, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy will emphasize the economic argument that failing to address climate change will hit everyone’s wallets hard. (The Hill)

U.N. Climate Summit – Early reports show one of the areas where the climate summit fell short is in its commitments to helping the world’s poorest countries. (Reuters)

Sunshine State politics – Florida may be the state where climate change is having some of the most dramatic effects but that doesn’t always make the debate any easier. (New York Times)

BLUE-GREEN LINKS

Bergen Record: The price New Jersey pays by turning its back on RGGI

New York Times: Emissions From India Will Increase, Official Says

Vox: Obama says "we have to do more" on climate change. So what would that entail?

Reuters: World risks spending $250 billion just to monitor U.N. development goals

Washington Post: Obama to expand ocean preserve to 6 times the size

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Posted In: The Source
Sep 24

Union, YES! American Airlines Passenger Service Agents Win Largest Organizing Victory in the South in Decades

The following blog by Kenneth Quinnell with AFL-CIO has been cross posted from the AFL-CIO’s blog. The original post is available online here. 


Union, YES! American Airlines Passenger Service Agents Win Largest Organizing Victory in the South in Decades

In what Communications Workers of America (CWA) heralds as "the largest labor organizing victory in the South in decades," passenger service agents at American Airlines voted to form a union after a 19-year struggle.  In the vote announced today, 86% of the 9,000 agents who voted favored the union, which will now represent 14,500 agents, the vast majority of whom live in the South. American Airlines agents in the West are represented by the Teamsters, and the two unions form a joint CWA-IBT unit to bargain with the airline.

Nearly three-quarters of the agents work in Texas, North Carolina, Florida and Arizona and several thousand are home-based reservations agents.  The wide range of jobs the members work include: reservations, ticket and gate agents, baggage service agents, customer assistance representatives, customer service supervisors, club representatives, passenger operations center representatives and special service counter agents.

About the result, CWA said:

The vote clearly shows that workers who can make a fair choice about union representation want bargaining rights. New American agents are concentrated in southern states and work at diverse locations, including large and small airports, call centers and at home. Across every group, they voted for bargaining rights and union representation.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka spoke about the broader importance of the victory:

Clearly, one of the largest labor organizing victories in the South in decades is a historic day. But it also shows that the future of the U.S. labor movement is alive, as these workers can be found at airports, call centers, even working from home. The right to collectively bargain will always be what our working family fights for.

The agents themselves were ecstatic about the victory. Richard Shaughnessy, who has been an agent at Miami International Airport for 27 years, said:

The merger between American Airlines and US Airways is an exciting time for all of us. But even more exciting is our victory today. We’re the front-line employees who interact with our customers every day, and we are looking forward to a positive relationship with management to make this merger ‘work’ for all of us. We are anxious to get to the bargaining table.

Carroll Locklear, a home-based reservations agent in Texas, said:

I’ve been with American Airlines for 18 years, and through all of those years I have been praying for this day. We have been the odd employees out for so long because we were the only employees without union representation. Gone are the days that management can take what they want when they want. This will be a win-win for all of us.

Eula Smith, a customer service agent in Charlotte, N.C., added:

We feel stronger now with this vote. I’m a 60-year-old woman with 42 years with this employer. You can’t live in the South and make a decent wage unless you are in senior management in a corporation or belong to a union. We need this. We need not just a union, we need CWA.

Ken Grunwald, a 23-year reservations agent at the call center in North Carolina, said:

I’m proud to remember everyone over the years who worked so hard for our union voice, who never gave up in the face of adversity, and who gave their blood, sweat and tears so that we would have the opportunity to celebrate this victory today. It’s a victory for all American Airlines employees! I’m so excited to think that we will finally be able to negotiate a legally binding contract. We now all have each others' back.

Janet Elston, an agent at Dallas International Airport, concluded:

Nineteen years ago, a handful of agents started a drive to obtain representation for [American Airlines] airport and reservations agents. Many hundreds of activists have spent thousands of hours over the years to get us to today’s election result. They never wavered and never, ever gave up. We have finally achieved what most thought was impossible: union representation for our work group. Now we’ll begin a new working relationship with our company, with a legal binding contract.

***

This has been reposted from the AFL-CIO.

Posted In: Communications Workers of America, United Steelworkers
Sep 24

Magic Moments at NYC's People's Climate March

The following blog by SEIU President Mary Kay Henry has been cross posted from the SEIU blog. The original is available online here.

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I wish every SEIU member - in fact, every American - who cares about protecting our environment could have experienced the magic and power of the climate change protest and events in New York Sunday. Roughly 400,000 of us marched together, four times more than any climate change march ever before.

Many of the people I spoke with during the People's Climate March saw it as a turning point in how we tackle clean air and water -- both for them personally and for the whole world.

One 199SEIU healthcare leader from Long Island who grew up in Haiti said she always believed that we were damaging the earth beyond repair. She said she felt "blessed" to participate in the march, thrilled that her union was all in, and grateful that I was there to draw more national attention to the idea that the climate crisis is a working person's issue.

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Members of 32BJ marched with us, their leaders proud of their own green building initiatives that have already changed the conversation in the commercial real estate industry.

An SEIU doctor and member of the Committee of Interns and Residents (who was thrilled that we were both wearing the same SEIU shirt) said he longed to be a leader in our union's efforts to make the connection between climate change and the health of communities of color.

Members of the Public Employees Federation of New York who joined in a rally for union members before the march said they were proud of our unity.

Teamsters high-fived me as the president of what they believed was the largest contingent of working people who are union members. Communications Workers of America members hugged me for being there. United Auto Workers leader Julie Kushner introduced me as the only national labor leader present, then I went on to introduce Michael Brune, president of the Sierra Club.

Mike and I walked to the climate leaders gathering eight blocks away, where I with Carl Pope, the previous president of the Sierra Club. We discussed wind and solar development and especially the need for a bold demand for a just transition for workers from a fossil fuels-based economy to a clean energy future.

When I joined the March itself with this amazing contingent of environmentalist leaders, I received gratitude for our union's outstanding role from the leader of Avazz, a global online group of 50 million, as well as a shout out for our incredible organizing from Mom's Rising President Kristin Rowe Finkbeiner, who leads a group of more than 1 million online activists.

I was also greeted by Sens. Bernie Sanders and Sheldon Whitehouse, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and many other New York elected officials.

Then we crossed the March to attend an event by indigenous women who led off the March under the banner reading, "Frontlines of Crisis -- Forefront of Change." They got tears in their eyes about being at the front of the March, taking their proper place in honoring our Creator.

We zipped over to join in an interfaith service that drew faith leaders who had marched with a Noah's Ark. It was another vivid example of a day when a kaleidoscope of different groups of people from across our nation who have had enough joined together to change things for the better.

Am I capturing how incredibly moving the entire day was? Not fully, not just yet. I was also moved by the effort and energy of:


  • Pennsylvania high school students I met at Penn Station, excited about their homemade signs
  • seasoned labor organizers who were jazzed by so many young people on the march line
  • the many green organizations who showed evidence of their own organizing prowess
  • environmental leaders wowed by our united capacity to mobilize people and to manage the unpredictability of 300,000 plus people streaming in from six different mini rallies before the "surge" of a unified People's Climate March.

My deepest thanks to everyone - but especially to SEIU's own members, leaders and staff -- who brought the best of the labor movement to bear with our key partners across the progressive movement. Together, we sent a loud message to the U.N. Climate Summit --itself a first of its kind as the largest gathering of world leaders from government, business and nongovernmental organizations. Together, we strengthened our commitment to bring about "Climate Action Now."

Posted In: Climate Change, SEIU
Sep 24

The Green Jobs Source for September 24, 2014

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President Obama committed to participating in a dozen new climate change partnerships at the U.N. Climate Summit yesterday. The BlueGreen Alliance's Executive Director Kim Glas said of the announcements, "The series of unprecedented measures announced by the president today that will help communities the world over become more climate-resilient, reduce methane emissions, and better predict extreme weather. This action affirms our commitment to national and international climate action." Here's how other countries stack up. (National Journal)

WHAT’S TRENDING

Keep it clean – Interior Secretary Sally Jewell called for expanding renewable energy and conservation efforts in California. (Los Angeles Times)

Fortune 500 – As world leaders rally behind the need to address climate change, they are joined by company CEOs and executives who are finding ways to do their part. (Fortune)

California’s story – Governor Brown touted California’s successes such as the state’s cap-and-trade program at the U.N. yesterday. (Los Angeles Times)

One in forty – Across the globe, one in forty people are likely to be exposed to flooding. (New York Times)

BLUE-GREEN LINKS

The Hill: Bill would prohibit VA from spending money on alternative energy projects

The Washington Post: Why the U.N. climate summit could be big for Obama’s legacy

New York Times: Obama Presses Chinese on Global Warming

That's it for The Source today. Don't forget to tell your friends about this great resource. You can sign up here.

Sep 23

The Green Jobs Source for September 23, 2014

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Today the U.N. Climate Summit kicks off in New York City with speakers including Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Mayor DeBlasio. President Obama is expected to make a pledge to help other nations struggling to face a changing climate. (ABC)

WHAT’S TRENDING

Bottom line – Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said in a speech yesterday, as an economic matter we must act on climate change. (Wall Street Journal)

Methane emissions – Secretary Kerry announced the U.S. will give $15 million in support of a new World Bank initiative to cut methane emissions. (Time)

Taking the lead – Three big city mayors—from Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Houston—are announcing new commitments to reduce emissions, improve efficiency and set city-specific targets to address climate change. (Los Angeles Times)

Simple majority – A new CBS poll, shows 54 percent of Americans believe global warming is mostly caused by human activity. (CBS)

Decade-long decline – American manufacturers shed a light on the the decade-long decline in infrastructure investments and urge an increase in spending is warranted. (Wall Street Journal)

We need everyone – Carl Pope reiterates the anthem of the People’s Climate March, “To change everything we need everyone,” and urges our next steps are bold action. (Ecowatch)

BLUE-GREEN LINKS

Climate Central: Think You’re a Climate Whiz? Take the Quiz

Washington Post: A climate summit with a worthy purpose

New York Times: Portland Will Still Be Cool, but Anchorage May Be the Place to Be

The Guardian: Google, GE and others helping to fund climate-change denial, report finds

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Sep 22

The effort to get one million electric vehicles on California’s roadways just got a jumpstart

Just before announcing he’d be heading to New York City to take part in the United Nations international climate summit this week, Gov. Jerry Brown of California signed a bill that will be the launch point for getting one million electric vehicles on California’s roads. SB 1275, the Charge Ahead California Initiative, sets a goal of getting at least one million zero-emission or near-zero emission vehicles on roads in the Golden State by 2023.

The Charge Ahead California Initiative sets a goal of getting at least one million zero-emission vehicles on near-zero emission vehicles on roads in the Golden State by 2023. 

California is a hot spot for electric vehicles, as Californians buy one-third of all electric vehicles in the U.S. The majority of these high-tech electric vehicles are made in America—many are union made by workers at Ford and GM. From all-electric compacts to plug-in family sedans to luxury cars, electric vehicles and technology are made all across America for all kinds of American households. And, earlier this year it was announced that more than 100,000 plug-in cars had been sold in the state since 2010.

The bill’s author, state Sen. Kevin de León of Los Angeles, said the new law will help ensure that everyone has access to electric vehicles. “With this bill, California is driving towards a clean-air future that benefits everyone, not just the wealthy,” he said in a statement. It will help to bring electric vehicles to low- and moderate-income households through new financing tools. In addition, it promotes car sharing programs that can give access to a (clean) vehicle for families that need only occasional use of a car—rather than being burdened with purchasing a car that they may not fully utilize.  

The members and supporters of the BlueGreen Alliance in California helped make this happen. Hundreds contacted lawmakers in Sacramento to push for this important bill that will create family-sustaining jobs for American workers and help address climate change. Thank you for your help!

California is leading the country when it comes to addressing climate change and creating good jobs by doing so. The Charge Ahead California Initiative is just the latest example. We applaud Sen. Kevin de León for leading the charge and thank Gov. Brown for pushing for good jobs, cleaner air, and a better future for California.

 

Posted In: California
Sep 22

The Green Jobs Source for September 22, 2014

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Photo by John Minchillo.

The People’s Climate March can only be called a massive success. An estimated 311,000 people marched 2.2 miles in New York City to call on President Obama and world leaders to come together to address climate change. Obama and other leaders will begin meetings tomorrow at a summit in NYC. Other marches in solidarity occurred around the U.S. and the globe. The BlueGreen Alliance’s Kim Glas said the march was a clarion call for climate action. (New York Times & Huffington Post)

WHAT’S TRENDING 

Carbon up – Levels of carbon pollution in 2013 were higher than any other year in human history, according to a series of new studies. (The Hill)

HELP – A bipartisan bill called the Healthy Employee Loss Prevention (HELP) Act was introduced late last week. The BlueGreen Alliance called the proposal a good start that can still be strengthened, saying, “It's critical that we support workers and their communities when jobs are lost due to no fault of their own—which is what is happening in the coal industry. We applaud Reps. Welch and McKinley for showing the leadership to take this issue head on." (Insurance News Net)

Working for an accord – President Obama heads to the United Nations climate summit in New York City pushing for an international accord. (The Hill) 

Benefits of addressing climate change – An opinion piece looks at the economic benefits of addressing climate change. (The Hill) 

PCB – Levels of polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB)—a carcinogen—are decreasing after remediation efforts but remain high in the Sheboygan River in Wisconsin. PCBs are considered a carcinogen. (Sheboygan Press)

Going clean – Lackawanna, NY is turning into a clean energy powerhouse thanks to solar energy. (Take Part)

Rural clean energy – The Department of Agriculture is providing funds to eight renewable energy projects in South Dakota. (Watertown Public Opinion)

BLUEGREEN LINKS

CNN: Marchers sound urgent call for climate change action ahead of U.N. summit

Los Angeles Times: Thousands pack New York's streets to march against climate change

The Hill: Greens question Hillary on climate chops

Fox News: Sick veterans who served at shuttered, toxic Army base turn to Congress, VA for help

New York Times: Bottom Up Climate Fix

BBC: Rockefellers to switch investments to 'clean energy'

New York Times: Climate Realities

Wisconsin Gazette: As Wisconsin tries to kill clean energy, Indiana announces development of two massive solar farms

Port Huron Times Herald (MI): Michigan renewable energy grows

That's it for The Source today. Don't forget to tell your friends about this great resource. You can sign up here.

Posted In: The Source