David Foster is the Executive Director of the BlueGreen Alliance, a national partnership of labor unions and environmental organizations dedicated to expanding the number and quality of jobs in the green economy. Launched by the United Steelworkers and Sierra Club in 2006, the BlueGreen Alliance has since grown to include the Communications Workers of America, Natural Resources Defense Council, Service Employees International Union, National Wildlife Federation, Utility Workers Union of America, Union of Concerned Scientists, American Federation of Teachers, Amalgamated Transit Union, United Auto Workers, and the United Food and Commercial Workers -- uniting more than 14 million members and supporters in pursuit of good jobs, a clean environment and a green economy.
From 1989-2006, Foster served as Director of United Steelworkers District 11, a 13-state region spanning from Minnesota to Washington State and Alaska. The district's diverse membership of 43,000 includes iron ore and other mineral miners, steel, aluminum, tire, oil and gas workers, and health-care employees. From 1990-2006, he served on USW's International Executive Board governing union affairs in the U.S. and Canada. His responsibilities included negotiating with many of the country's largest steel, iron ore and aluminum companies.
For the past 20 years, Foster has been among the labor movement's leading environmental advocates. He was chair of the USW's International Executive Board task force on environmental policy and vigorously worked to bridge the divide between workers and environmentalists in the Northwest and throughout the United States.
Foster has spoken on trade, global warming, and environmental issues to labor, management, environmental and governmental audiences in the U.S., Canada, Europe and Japan. In 2009, Foster testified before the Canadian House of Commons Standing Committee on Natural Resources, appeared before the German Green Party Convention in Berlin, and testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works on the economic benefits of comprehensive climate change legislation.
Foster sits on the Advisory Committee of the Alliance for Climate Protection, chaired by former Vice President Al Gore. He is also co-chair, with Mayors R.T. Rybak of Minneapolis and Christopher B. Coleman of Saint Paul, of the Mayors' Green Manufacturing Initiative. Foster serves as adjunct faculty at the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota, teaching on the challenges to industrial unions in the global economy. He has also taught in the Masters in Advocacy and Public Policy at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. Foster sits on the board of directors of Kaiser Aluminum Corporation.
In 2010, the BlueGreen Alliance was awarded the Aspen Institute's 2010 Energy and Environment Award for Non-Governmental Organizations. In 2008, David Foster was one of two inaugural winners of the Peter A. A. Berle Environmental Integrity Award, alongside James E. Hansen, Director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies. The award recognizes demonstrated courage and integrity in defense of the environment by public officials and private citizens in the United States. In 2004, Foster was awarded the Jane Lehman Bagley Award from the Tides Foundation for his work building labor-environmental coalitions in the United States.