Blue Green Alliance Feed http://bluegreenalliance.com/news/latest/rss Blue Green Alliance Latest News Feed Tue, 24 Jan 2012 05:00:00 +0000 AMPS en hourly 1 STATEMENT: Methane Partnership is a Step Forward on Reducing Emissions http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/statement Thu, 23 Jul 2015 15:53:20 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/statement FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT:
Erin Bzymek, erinb@bluegreenalliance.org, 202-706-6916

 

WASHINGTON, DC (July 23, 2015) – Today the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the Natural Gas STAR Methane Challenge Program, a voluntary partnership that will encourage energy companies to adopt technologies and best practices to improve efficiency and reduce emissions of methane. BlueGreen Alliance Executive Director Kim Glas released the following statement on the announcement:

“The Natural Gas STAR program could help industry improve their operations by reducing methane pollution—and companies and utilities should step up. Some already are, but many more need to act because keeping natural gas in the system reduces waste, saves money, and is better for our climate and air. 

“While this voluntary program is a step forward, strong EPA standards are where we’ll see real progress in achieving the goal of up to 45 percent reduction in methane pollution by 2025 established by the president earlier this year. We will continue the push for a strong national standard, which can be cost effective, help move the U.S. to a clean energy economy, and create safer, healthier workplaces and communities.” 

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The BlueGreen Alliance is a national partnership of America’s largest labor unions and environmental organizations. We work together to turn today’s biggest environmental challenges into our biggest economic and job-creating opportunities. Together with 15 million members and supporters, we are a powerful, unified voice calling for good, family-sustaining jobs, a clean environment and a thriving and fair American economy. http://www.bluegreenalliance.org

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STATEMENT: Senate Must Renew Expired Clean Energy Tax Credits http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/statement-senate-must-renew-expired-clean-energy-tax-credits Tue, 21 Jul 2015 13:53:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/statement-senate-must-renew-expired-clean-energy-tax-credits FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT:
Erin Bzymek, erinb@bluegreenalliance.org, 202-706-6916

 

WASHINGTON, DC (July 21, 2015) – Today the Senate Finance Committee approved a number of tax incentive extensions, including clean energy and energy efficiency tax provisions. The package was approved during a committee markup and will now be considered by the Senate. BlueGreen Alliance’s Executive Director Kim Glas issued the following statement: 

“We applaud the Senate Finance Committee for approving these measures. While these clean energy incentives never should have even been allowed to expire in the first place, lawmakers should use this opportunity to bring back the vitally important Production Tax Credit and other incentives. These are the proven and effective programs that create and maintain good, family-sustaining jobs. 

“We urge the Senate to approve long-term clean energy investments and other policies that will grow clean energy, curb emissions and keep the U.S. competitive in the global technology race.” 

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The BlueGreen Alliance is a national partnership of America’s largest labor unions and environmental organizations. We work together to turn today’s biggest environmental challenges into our biggest economic and job-creating opportunities. Together with 15 million members and supporters, we are a powerful, unified voice calling for good, family-sustaining jobs, a clean environment and a thriving and fair American economy. http://www.bluegreenalliance.org

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STATEMENT: Truck Greenhouse Gas and Fuel Efficiency Standards Can Continue American Auto and Manufacturing Resurgence http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/statement-md-hd-vehicle-greenhouse-gas-and-fuel-efficiency-standards Fri, 19 Jun 2015 16:09:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/statement-md-hd-vehicle-greenhouse-gas-and-fuel-efficiency-standards WASHINGTON, DC (June 19, 2015) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) today released proposed phase 2 standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles that will increase fuel efficiency and cut greenhouse gas emissions from long-haul trucks—along with larger pick-ups, other trucks, buses, and vocational vehicles. The following is a statement from BlueGreen Alliance Executive Director Kim Glas on the announcement: 

 “The BlueGreen Alliance and its 15 labor and environmental partners recognize the importance of the proposed medium- and heavy-duty truck fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions reduction rule released today. America’s economy depends on leadership in building the next generation of clean globally competitive energy and vehicle technology. These new standards can provide a critical opportunity to sustain jobs, further reduce the pollution driving climate change and foreign oil dependence while enhancing the competitiveness of U.S.-manufactured trucks in global markets. 

“We greatly appreciate the thorough and systematic process EPA and NHTSA have undertaken in developing this proposal. It is critical that an effective final rule works for the environment, for the economy, and for the thousands of hard-working American men and women in the heavy truck, component and related industries. The auto industry and autoworkers have been at the forefront in proving that America can lead globally in combating climate change while rebuilding manufacturing and jobs. We are hopeful that, working with the agencies, we will see a final truck rule that continues this trajectory. 

“Together, the previous rounds of car and light truck and medium- and heavy-duty truck standards achieve the largest greenhouse gas reductions ever undertaken in the U.S. and one of the largest globally. We look forward to working with all our partners to ensure that we keep on combating climate change by building great trucks.” 

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The BlueGreen Alliance is a national partnership of America’s largest labor unions and environmental organizations. We work together to turn today’s biggest environmental challenges into our biggest economic and job-creating opportunities. Together with 15 million members and supporters, we are a powerful, unified voice calling for good, family-sustaining jobs, a clean environment and a thriving and fair American economy. http://www.bluegreenalliance.org

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STATEMENT: Fast Track Approval is a Step Backward http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/statement-fast-track-approval-is-a-step-backward Thu, 18 Jun 2015 12:26:37 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/statement-fast-track-approval-is-a-step-backward FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT:
Erin Bzymek, erinb@bluegreenalliance.org, 202-706-6916 

WASHINGTON, DC (June 18, 2015) – Today the U.S. House of Representatives voted to approve Fast Track trade authority. After the bill passed with a vote of 218-208 BlueGreen Alliance’s Executive Director Kim Glas issued the following statement: 

“Passage of this trade legislation in the House today is a step backward for our country. These measures undercut fundamental values we’ve fought long and hard to protect and virtually ensure that future trade deals will send jobs overseas and erode our environmental and health protections. We’re deeply disappointed with the members who chose politics and special interests ahead of what’s best for working families, America’s economic future and our environment. We now call upon the Senate to stand firm in rejecting this measure.” 

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The BlueGreen Alliance is a national partnership of America’s largest labor unions and environmental organizations. We work together to turn today’s biggest environmental challenges into our biggest economic and job-creating opportunities. Together with 15 million members and supporters, we are a powerful, unified voice calling for good, family-sustaining jobs, a clean environment and a thriving and fair American economy. http://www.bluegreenalliance.org

 

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BlueGreen Alliance Applauds Pope Francis’ Encyclical, Calls for Leaders to Take Action at Paris Climate Meetings http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/bluegreen-alliance-applauds-pope-francis-encyclical-calls-for-leaders-to-take-action-at-paris-climate-meetings Thu, 18 Jun 2015 08:38:53 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/bluegreen-alliance-applauds-pope-francis-encyclical-calls-for-leaders-to-take-action-at-paris-climate-meetings FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT:
Eric Steen, 612-466-4488, erics@bluegreenalliance.org

WASHINGTON, DC (June 18, 2015) – Pope Francis today released an encyclical on climate change that focuses on the need to address the issue to protect both people and our planet. Following the release of the teaching, BlueGreen Alliance Executive Director Kim Glas released the following statement:

“Addressing climate change is our moral obligation and action to reduce the pollution causing it is urgent. Protecting those most impacted by climate change—especially disadvantaged communities—is a responsibility we cannot shirk. 

“The solutions to climate change—growing clean energy, making our current energy and building stock more efficient, and repairing our outdated infrastructure—are an opportunity to lift people out of poverty, protect our communities from extreme weather, and make our country—and our planet—more fair and just. Pope Francis’ encyclical is a call to act now to address climate change and seize the opportunity created by doing so. 

“Make no mistake, climate change is a dire threat to all of us, but we all stand to benefit from tackling this challenge. We applaud Pope Francis for his leadership and urge world leaders to heed his call for action at the upcoming climate summit in Paris later this year.” 

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The BlueGreen Alliance is a national partnership of America’s largest labor unions and environmental organizations. We work together to turn today’s biggest environmental challenges into our biggest economic and job-creating opportunities. Together with 15 million members and supporters, we are a powerful, unified voice calling for good, family-sustaining jobs, a clean environment and a thriving and fair American economy. http://www.bluegreenalliance.org

 

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LETTER: Thank you Leader Pelosi for standing up for workers on Fast Track http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/publications/letter Tue, 16 Jun 2015 14:38:39 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/publications/letter The BlueGreen Alliance, on behalf of its 15 million members and supporters from our labor union and environmental organization members, thanks Leader Pelosi for standing up for workers and the environment by voting against fast track and supporting efforts to implement fair deals that will not lead our country on a race to the bottom. 

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INFOGRAPHIC: Communications Infrastructure http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/publications/infographic Mon, 15 Jun 2015 11:16:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/publications/infographic For a lot of America, high-speed broadband Internet is something they just can’t get. A modern communications infrastructure would be a huge benefit to our economy—by creating and sustaining good jobs—and protect our environment—by wasting less energy and water and reducing the pollution that’s driving climate change.

The BlueGreen Alliance and its partners are at the forefront of the discussion of modernizing and repairing our infrastructure systems to create family-sustaining jobs, make our communities safer and healthier and reduce the pollution that’s driving climate change. And, we’re not here alone. Companies, unions, community organizations, leaders in Congress and State Legislatures around the country, and people like you pushing for a resilient and modern infrastructure are all vital to this effort.

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STATEMENT: House Rejects Fast Track Trade Authority http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/statement-house-rejects-fast-track-trade-authority Fri, 12 Jun 2015 14:04:42 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/statement-house-rejects-fast-track-trade-authority FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT:
Erin Bzymek, erinb@bluegreenalliance.org, 202-706-6916 

WASHINGTON, DC (June 12, 2015) – Today’s vote against Trade Adjustment Assistance by the U.S. House of Representatives has blocked progress on Fast Track authority. BlueGreen Alliance’s Executive Director Kim Glas issued the following statement: 

“The result of today’s vote is a victory for those who stand for good jobs and stronger environmental protections. The voices of everyone working to ensure future trade deals safeguard workers and the environment have been heard. 

“We applaud the members of Congress who today stood up with us for promoting growth and prosperity across all sectors of society and ensuring enforceable labor, environmental and human rights standards are part of our trade agreements.” 

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The BlueGreen Alliance is a national partnership of America’s largest labor unions and environmental organizations. We work together to turn today’s biggest environmental challenges into our biggest economic and job-creating opportunities. Together with 15 million members and supporters, we are a powerful, unified voice calling for good, family-sustaining jobs, a clean environment and a thriving and fair American economy. http://www.bluegreenalliance.org 

 

 

 

 

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Labor, Environmental Leaders Call on House Members to Reject Fast Track http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/labor-environmental-leaders-call-on-house-members-to-reject-fast-track Thu, 11 Jun 2015 12:20:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/labor-environmental-leaders-call-on-house-members-to-reject-fast-track FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT:
Erin Bzymek, 202-706-6916, erinb@bluegreenalliance.org 

Prior to House Vote, National Partnership Says Fast Track Trade Authority is Wrong for Workers, Environment 

WASHINGTON, DC (June 11, 2015) – Before the U.S. House of Representatives is set to vote on Trade Promotion Authority—also known as Fast Track—the BlueGreen Alliance urged members of the House to reject the proposal because it removes critically important checks and balances. 

“Approving Fast Track would be bad for our economy and our environment,” said Leo W. Gerard, International President of the United Steelworkers (USW). “The USW is not against trade, but unfortunately the history of trade agreements is clear: I don’t know anyone who can name an agreement passed under fast track that has resulted in a net gain of jobs for working Americans.” 

“The Sierra Club and our 2.4 million members and supporters oppose Fast Track, and we’re in good company,” said Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune. “Leaders from environmental, labor, civic, and faith groups agree—Fast Track is a bad deal for our climate and our communities, and the House should reject it.” 

Under Fast Track, Congress gives up its constitutional authority over trade negotiations and trades away its ability ensure that trade deals protect communities, workers, and the environment. The groups argued that Fast Track would encourage a race to the bottom and could lead to allowing companies to have expanded rights to challenge our environmental and other laws in a special trade tribunal outside the U.S. court system. 

“Fast track gives little opportunity for the public or the Congress to weigh in substantively on agreements that could reshape U.S. environmental policy. We are especially concerned about the process the agreements may include to enable companies to challenge the effects of U.S. laws that protect health and the environment,” Peter Lehner, Executive Director of the Natural Resources Defense Council. 

“Future trade agreements must always prioritize what is in the best interest of hard working American families first,” said Mary Kay Henry, President of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). “Fast tracking away from regulations and protections put our workforce, our jobs, our economy and our environment in jeopardy.” 

“Fast Track will offshore jobs, cut wages, close factories and threaten the well-being of our communities,” said Amalgamated Transit Union President Larry Hanley. “Time and again we’ve seen those set to gain the most from trade deals tell us that they’ll make the lives of average Americans better and time and again they’ve been wrong. Fast Track is the wrong track for America.”

The House vote comes just a few weeks after the Senate approved Fast Track. However, a strong bipartisan effort to reject the measure has gained ground in the House in recent months. A broad and growing movement of workers, environmentalists, people of faith, consumers, and community activists has been pushing to stop Fast Track. 

“AFT continues to stand with a broad coalition of labor, environmental, and consumer and patient rights organizations against fast-track authority for the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Fast Track limits transparency and rigorous debate over our trade policy. American workers deserve a voice, especially around initiatives that would have such far-reaching and lasting economic impacts,” said Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). 

“Fast Track would virtually guarantee the passage of trade deals that ship jobs overseas and give corporations more power over our lives,” said Michael Langford, National President of the Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA). “Working families can’t afford more bad trade deals.” 

“These trade negotiations have the potential to seriously undermine science-based public health, safety and environmental protections in the United States and for our trading partners. It is simply unacceptable that risky provisions are being negotiated in secret when the public has so much at stake,” said Dr. Andrew Rosenberg, Director of the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists. 

“We need fair trade not trade deals that are hidden from the public’s view,” said Joseph Sellers, Jr., General President of the International Association of Sheet Metal Air Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART). “Workers and families deserve to know what’s in these deals and our elected representatives should not abandon their duty to protect our workers and environment.” 

“The House should reject Fast Track to ensure we have fair trade agreements that don’t engage us in a race to the bottom,” said James Boland, President of the International Union of Bricklayers & Allied Craftworkers (BAC). 

“This is a critical vote. Trade agreements should be fair, uphold labor standards that protect workers and their jobs, preserve environmental protections, and ensure consumer safeguards aren’t weakened,” said Kim Glas, Executive Director of the BlueGreen Alliance. “Fast Track would deny the ability of Congress to amend deals to achieve those things. Our message to House members is simple: Don’t let Fast Track put America on the wrong track; vote no.” 

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The BlueGreen Alliance is a national partnership of America’s largest labor unions and environmental organizations. We work together to turn today’s biggest environmental challenges into our biggest economic and job-creating opportunities. Together with 15 million members and supporters, we are a powerful, unified voice calling for good, family-sustaining jobs, a clean environment and a thriving and fair American economy. http://www.bluegreenalliance.org

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STATEMENT: House Rules Committee Vote Undercuts U.S. Ability to Address Climate Change http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/statement-house-rules-committee-vote-undercuts-u-s-ability-to-address-climate-change Thu, 11 Jun 2015 09:33:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/statement-house-rules-committee-vote-undercuts-u-s-ability-to-address-climate-change FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT:
Erin Bzymek, 202-706-6916, erinb@bluegreenalliance.org

 

WASHINGTON, DC (June 11, 2015) – A provision added into the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 (H.R. 644) would effectively remove the ability of the United States to include obligations in free trade agreements to address climate change in trade deals. Following action early this morning by the House Rules Committee, the BlueGreen Alliance issued the following statement from its Executive Director Kim Glas: 

“This change undercuts America’s ability to address global climate change. Making H.R. 644 worse in order to try to attract votes for the larger, and also flawed, Fast Track effort, is the wrong thing to do. Fast track is already a bad bill that would just be made worse by this change, and we urge lawmakers to vote both it and H.R. 644 down. 

“Climate change is a huge concern globally—as the recent G7 agreement on climate action shows—and addressing it must be a consideration in any trade negotiations.”

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The BlueGreen Alliance is a national partnership of America’s largest labor unions and environmental organizations. We work together to turn today’s biggest environmental challenges into our biggest economic and job-creating opportunities. Together with 15 million members and supporters, we are a powerful, unified voice calling for good, family-sustaining jobs, a clean environment and a thriving and fair American economy. http://www.bluegreenalliance.org

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Growing Partnership Announces Kelly Schwinghammer as Executive Vice President http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/growing-partnership-announces-kelly-schwinghammer-as-executive-vice-president Thu, 04 Jun 2015 14:39:25 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/growing-partnership-announces-kelly-schwinghammer-as-executive-vice-president BlueGreen Alliance Also Names New Legislative and Policy, Organizing Directors 

WASHINGTON, DC (June 4, 2015) – The BlueGreen Alliance, a national partnership of labor unions and environmental organizations, today announced that Kelly Schwinghammer is the organization’s new Executive Vice President. The organization also announced that Lee Anderson has been named Director of Legislation and Policy and Katie Gulley will serve as Organizing Director. 

“I am excited that Kelly, Lee and Katie will be taking on these new, expanded roles within the organization that they have helped to build,” said BlueGreen Alliance Executive Director Kim Glas. “The BlueGreen Alliance and its partners are leading the charge to find solutions to climate change that create and secure the kinds of jobs that support families in this country. This team is the right choice to help move this vision forward.” 

“The BlueGreen Alliance is advancing solutions to environmental problems that will ensure the creation and security of good jobs across the country—whether through energy efficiency and renewable energy, the repair and replacement of the nation’s natural gas distribution pipelines, or fair and enforceable trade agreements—all in pursuit of a clean, thriving and fair economy,” said Schwinghammer. “I’m honored to be named the organization’s first Executive Vice President and I am looking forward to continuing this work at a critical time for our economy and our environment.” 

Schwinghammer has worked with the BlueGreen Alliance since 2008, when she became the organization’s founding communications director. In 2012, she led the communications effort as Deputy Campaign Manager of Research and Communications for Minnesota United for All Families, the first ever campaign to defeat a state constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. Now as Executive Vice President, she will lead the field organizing, communications and legislative advocacy efforts.    

Lee Anderson formerly served as a Senior Legislative and Policy Advocate for the BlueGreen Alliance. Prior to joining the BlueGreen Alliance, Anderson worked as a labor and employment attorney with the Provost Umphrey Law Firm, representing labor unions and individual workers. His law practice centered on union organizing and bargaining, employment discrimination, overtime wages, consumer protections, and pension issues. 

“Even with a gridlocked Congress, there are opportunities to advocate for and implement smart policies at the state and federal level,” said Anderson. “I’m very proud of our efforts to grow and secure good jobs, while protecting the rights of working people and our environment, and I look forward to continuing that mission in my new position.” 

Katie Gulley joined the BlueGreen Alliance in 2009 as the Regional Program Manager for Minnesota, helping to launch efforts to move smart environmental and energy policies in the state. Before joining the BlueGreen Alliance, she was the Campaigns Coordinator for the Change to Win Labor Federation in Minnesota and Member Mobilizer for the Minnesota Nurses Association. 

“As our economy continues its recovery and as the U.S. embarks on an effort to limit carbon pollution, there couldn’t be a more important time to build consensus on solutions that will address climate change and secure and create new, good jobs,” said Gulley. “We’ve been working over the years to build collaboration and consensus around the best ways to do this for our environment and our economy, and I can’t wait to help our organization build on this important work in the future.” 

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The BlueGreen Alliance is a national partnership of America’s largest labor unions and environmental organizations. We work together to turn today’s biggest environmental challenges into our biggest economic and job-creating opportunities. Together with 15 million members and supporters, we are a powerful, unified voice calling for good, family-sustaining jobs, a clean environment and a thriving and fair American economy. http://www.bluegreenalliance.org 

 

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STATEMENT: More Work Needed on TSCA Bill to Protect Workers, Communities and the Environment http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/statement-more-work-needed-on-tsca-bill-to-protect-workers-communities-and-the-environment Wed, 03 Jun 2015 09:54:53 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/statement-more-work-needed-on-tsca-bill-to-protect-workers-communities-and-the-environment WASHINGTON, DC (June 3, 2015) – The U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee today considered a bill to reform the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA)—our nation’s ineffectual law that purports to protect Americans from dangerous chemicals. Following the passage of the bill in committee without making substantial improvements—like those offered by the Safer Chemicals Healthy Families coalition—the BlueGreen Alliance’s Vice President for Health Initiatives Charlotte Brody released the following statement: 

“While the House’s TSCA Modernization Act is improved over previous versions, there are still too many significant flaws that need to be fixed. Americans need a federal chemical policy that, at least, charts a course towards the eventual protection of the health of workers, communities and the environment. We’re hopeful the House will continue to improve their bill to address outstanding concerns.” 

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RELEASE: Labor, Environmental Leaders Applaud Improved Clean Water Act Protections http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/release-labor-environmental-leaders-applaud-improved-clean-water-act-protections Wed, 27 May 2015 10:39:13 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/release-labor-environmental-leaders-applaud-improved-clean-water-act-protections U.S. EPA to Announce Finalization of Waters of the U.S. Rulemaking 

WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 27, 2015) – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy today will announce the finalization of a rule to clarify Clean Water Act protections that impact the drinking water supply of over one hundred million Americans. More specifically, this clean water rule restores pollution protections that used to exist for streams and wetlands that feed into bigger lakes and rivers, and strengthens enforcement of those protections. 

“Clean water is a basic need we depend on for good public health and even for economic prosperity,” said BlueGreen Alliance Executive Director Kim Glas. “We can’t afford to take the streams and wetlands that supply clean drinking water for granted. This final rule takes important steps to better preserve and protect hundreds of thousands of miles of streams and wetlands.” 

A recent poll conducted by the League of Conservation Voters showed more than two-thirds of respondents—Democrats, independents and Republicans alike—support the rule. 

“Thanks to the Obama administration, the drinking water supplies of 117 million Americans will gain strong safeguards against pollution. These long-overdue protections also will ensure cleaner wetlands, headwaters, brooks and streams that we use for swimming, fishing and other recreational activities,” said Rhea Suh, President of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). “It was a long, hard slog to reach this day. Now we will redouble our efforts to defend the new Clean Water rule against developers, big polluters and their allies in Congress who want to kill it.’’ 

According to EPA, the proposed rule would provide an estimated $388 million to $514 million annually of benefits to the public by reducing flooding, providing wildlife habitat, supporting hunting and fishing, and recharging groundwater. 

“The safety of our drinking water depends upon clean source waters,” said Michael Langford, President of the Utility Workers Union of America. “The Clean Water Act has restored and maintained the integrity of our waters since it was enacted nearly 40 years ago, and clean water would be impossible without protecting headwaters. Our water infrastructure is already challenged due to increasing demand and lack of investment. Restoring protection of our streams and wetlands is essential.” 

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The BlueGreen Alliance is a national partnership of America’s largest labor unions and environmental organizations. We work together to turn today’s biggest environmental challenges into our biggest economic and job-creating opportunities. Together with 15 million members and supporters, we are a powerful, unified voice calling for good, family-sustaining jobs, a clean environment and a thriving and fair American economy. http://www.bluegreenalliance.org

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POLICY BRIEF: Communications Infrastructure: Enabling the Clean Energy Economy http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/publications/policy-brief-communications Mon, 18 May 2015 13:48:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/publications/policy-brief-communications From roads that buckle to water pipelines that burst to failing communications systems, America’s outdated and crumbling infrastructure is at the forefront of the challenges we must tackle with the utmost urgency. Our infrastructure serves as the backbone of today’s economic success and provides the path to future growth and innovation.

The BlueGreen Alliance, with its 15 national labor and environmental partners—including the Communications Workers of America (CWA)—launched Repair America, a grassroots campaign to rebuild our nation’s infrastructure to better meet the climate challenges of today and tomorrow, while building a more prosperous, clean economy. Modernizing and extending our broadband network is a critical piece of this effort.

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POLICY PAPER: BlueGreen Alliance on Senate TSCA Reform, S. 697 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/publications/bluegreen-alliance-policy-on-s-697 Wed, 13 May 2015 16:59:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/publications/bluegreen-alliance-policy-on-s-697 Today there are 80,000 chemicals in commerce, yet EPA has limited ability to protect consumers from exposure to harmful chemicals. As Congress confronts reforms to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and America’s chemical safety policies in both the House and Senate, the BlueGreen Alliance releases its policy statement on the Senate's proposal, S. 697.

Four fundamental concerns keep prevent BlueGreen Alliance from supporting S.697, as amended:
1. The scale of the problem and the scope of S.697
2. The states’ power to protect and preemption of that power
3. Chemicals that EPA declares unsafe will still be legally available
4. New rollbacks to EPA’s ability to regulate new chemicals and uses

“TSCA is a fundamentally flawed law that needs to be reformed to protect workers, families and children from toxic chemicals, but this is not the right way to do it,” said Charlotte Brody, Vice President of Health Initiatives for the BlueGreen Alliance

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BlueGreen Alliance Statement: Senate Democrats Do the Right Thing on Fast Track http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/bluegreen-alliance-statement-senate-democrats-do-the-right-thing-on-fast-track Tue, 12 May 2015 16:26:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/bluegreen-alliance-statement-senate-democrats-do-the-right-thing-on-fast-track FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT:
Erin Bzymek, erinb@bluegreenalliance.org, 202-706-6916 

WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 12, 2015) – Today the Senate failed to pass a procedural vote in order to move forward with consideration of the bill on fast-track trade authority. The following is a statement from BlueGreen Alliance Executive Director Kim Glas. 

“Today, Senate Democrats did the right thing. They called for accountability as part of a fast track agreement and put House and Senate leaders on notice that fast track—as it is construed—is bad for our economy and environment.  

“With the continued work of a broad coalition of unions, environmental organizations, civic, and economic and environmental leaders, and many others, we will call for transparency in trade agreements and that these agreements must provide opportunities for workers and our environment.” 

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The BlueGreen Alliance is a national partnership of America’s largest labor unions and environmental organizations. We work together to turn today’s biggest environmental challenges into our biggest economic and job-creating opportunities. Together with 15 million members and supporters, we are a powerful, unified voice calling for good, family-sustaining jobs, a clean environment and a thriving and fair American economy. http://www.bluegreenalliance.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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POLICY PAPER: The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/publications/policy-paper Mon, 27 Apr 2015 17:35:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/publications/policy-paper We applaud the latest effort at finding a bi-partisan solution to the antiquated and health-damaging current federal law regulating chemicals, we do not support S. 697 because it will not protect workers, families and children from toxic chemicals.

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National Labor, Environmental Leaders Spotlight Long-Term Consequences of Fast Track Passage http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/national-labor-environmental-leaders-spotlight-long-term-consequences-of-fast-track-passage Thu, 23 Apr 2015 16:57:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/national-labor-environmental-leaders-spotlight-long-term-consequences-of-fast-track-passage FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT:
Erin Bzymek, erinb@bluegreenalliance.org, 202-706-6916

WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 23, 2015) – Today, as the House Ways and Means Committee considers Fast Track Trade authority and several new international trade agreements, national labor and environmental leaders offered another view of what Fast Track would mean for the American people, urging committee members and Congress to vote no on granting Fast Track Trade authority.

“Fast tracking flawed trade agreements should not be an act of Congress,” said United Steelworkers (USW) International President Leo W. Gerard. “We need a new approach to trade, not more of the same failed policies so damaging to American workers and their communities.”

On Tuesday in the Senate, the Finance Committee held a hearing on Fast Track Trade authority. Under Fast Track, Congress gives up its traditional power to amend bad trade deals and it cannot send the agreement back to the executive branch with instructions for improvement.

“Fast track would rush dangerous trade deals through Congress­—trade deals that would hurt our access to clean air, clean water, and undermine years of work to address climate disruption,” said Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune. “We call on members of Congress to clean up toxic trade—and they should start by rejecting fast track."

“The two pending trade agreements that the U.S. is negotiating could have enormous impacts on our bedrock environmental laws and public health protections. That is why we oppose this ‘fast track’ bill. It would give a blank check with no way to ensure that trade agreements it will allow to become law don’t undercut our protections or allow new challenges to them. Our country has worked for decades—and is still working—to build up and enforce basic environmental and public health protections. Now is not the time to undercut these important protections,” said Peter Lehner, Executive Director of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) would include 12 countries, about 40 percent of the world economy and have a significant impact on the global and domestic economy for many years to come.

“Fast Track repeats all the mistakes of our previous failed trade policies,” said Communications Workers of America (CWA) Senior Director George Kohl. “We need a new trade policy that benefits everyone. We need a new trade policy that creates a net increase in U.S. jobs and investment while expanding workers’ rights here and abroad. New trade agreements need to lift up regulatory standards and our overall quality of life, not undercut them.”

“The BlueGreen Alliance supports fair, transparent trade that doesn’t engage the U.S. in a race to the bottom,” said BlueGreen Alliance Executive Director Kim Glas. “Fast Track is the opposite of that. That’s why it is wrong for our workers, economy and environment.”

Full audio of the call is available here

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The BlueGreen Alliance is a strategic partnership that brings together major U.S. labor unions and America's most influential environmental organizations and unites nearly 16 million members and supporters in pursuit of good jobs, a clean environment and a clean economy.  Visit www.bluegreenalliance.org.

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STATEMENT: Quadrennial Energy Review Maps Out Solutions to Fix America’s Energy Infrastructure http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/statement-quadrennial-energy-review-maps-out-solutions-to-fix-americas-energy-infrastructure Tue, 21 Apr 2015 13:08:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/statement-quadrennial-energy-review-maps-out-solutions-to-fix-americas-energy-infrastructure FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT:
Erin Bzymek, erinb@bluegreenalliance.org, 202-706-6916 

WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 21, 2015) – Today, the Department of Energy presented its Quadrennial Energy Review (QER), outlining strategies to strengthen our nation’s energy infrastructure, to include modernizing our electric grid and natural gas distribution pipelines to make them more resilient and reduce climate change pollution. The BlueGreen Alliance’s Executive Director Kim Glas released the following statement: 

“The Department of Energy’s QER provides real solutions to address America’s growing infrastructure investment gap. Over the next 10 years, the administration is committing up to $3.8 billion to modernize our electrical grid and up to $3.5 billion to protect our energy systems from extreme weather and accelerate the repair and replacement of leak-prone natural gas distribution pipes. 

“In the American Society of Civil Engineers 2013 Infrastructure Report Card, our nation’s energy infrastructure earned a barely passing D+ grade. Getting the electrical grid to a “B” grade over 10 years could create an estimated 180,000 jobs, and accelerating upgrades to our natural gas distribution networks to a 10 year timeline could create an additional 250,000 jobs throughout the economy. Fixing our leak-prone gas distribution pipes is a crucial part of the national goal, proposed by the administration in January, to reduce methane emissions by up to 45 percent over the next decade. 

“Congress should stand with the president to ensure these commitments become reality. U.S. consumers and businesses will see economic benefits, there will be more quality jobs created and sustained, and we’ll reduce emissions along the way.”  

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The BlueGreen Alliance is a strategic partnership that brings together major U.S. labor unions and America's most influential environmental organizations and unites nearly 16 million members and supporters in pursuit of good jobs, a clean environment and a clean economy.  Visit www.bluegreenalliance.org.

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BLUEGREEN ALLIANCE STATEMENT: Fast Track is Bad for the Environment and Working Families http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/bluegreen-alliance-statement-fast-track-is-bad-for-the-environment-and-working-families Thu, 16 Apr 2015 14:58:40 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/bluegreen-alliance-statement-fast-track-is-bad-for-the-environment-and-working-families FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT:
Erin Bzymek, erinb@bluegreenalliance.org, 202-706-6916 

WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 16, 2015) – Today, Trade Promotion Authority—also known as Fast Track legislation—was introduced in Congress. Under Fast Track, Congress gives up its traditional power to amend bad trade deals and it cannot send the agreement back to the executive branch with instructions for improvement. BlueGreen Alliance’s Executive Director Kim Glas released the following statement: 

“Yesterday on Capitol Hill a broad coalition of over 1,200 union members, environmentalists and allies called on Congress to deny Fast Track authority for trade deals because it removes critically important checks and balances. 

“Trade agreements should be fair, uphold labor standards that protect workers and their jobs, preserve environmental protections, and ensure consumer safeguards aren’t weakened. Fast Track would deny the ability of Congress to amend deals to achieve those things. 

“The BlueGreen Alliance supports fair, transparent trade that doesn’t engage the U.S. in a race to the bottom. Fast Track is the opposite of that. That’s why it is wrong for our workers, economy and environment.” 

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The BlueGreen Alliance is a strategic partnership that brings together major U.S. labor unions and America's most influential environmental organizations and unites nearly 16 million members and supporters in pursuit of good jobs, a clean environment and a clean economy.  Visit www.bluegreenalliance.org.

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STATEMENT: Emissions Reduction Pledge Reinforces U.S. Commitment to Lead on Climate Change http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/statement-emissions-reduction-pledge-reinforces-u-s-commitment-to-lead-on-climate-change Tue, 31 Mar 2015 09:35:04 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/statement-emissions-reduction-pledge-reinforces-u-s-commitment-to-lead-on-climate-change FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT:
Erin Bzymek, erinb@bluegreenalliance.org, 202-706-6916

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 31, 2015) – The United States formally submitted its pledge to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to reduce national greenhouse gas emissions by 26-28 percent below 2005 levels. The BlueGreen Alliance’s Executive Director Kim Glas released the following statement in response to the submission: 

“President Obama continues to lead on climate change. This U.S. pledge helps lay the foundation for what we hope is a strong and fair international agreement later this year in Paris. We need this agreement to begin to significantly reduce global emissions and to help keep America’s economy and the manufacturing sector on a level playing field. 

“There is much more we need to do. Congressional leadership must cast aside the anti-science, anti-worker sentiments, and begin to take action to complement the president’s actions with necessary investments in our workers and communities. We look forward to working together with Congress and the Obama administration to advance this important pledge.” 

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The BlueGreen Alliance is a strategic partnership that brings together major U.S. labor unions and America's most influential environmental organizations and unites nearly 16 million members and supporters in pursuit of good jobs, a clean environment and a clean economy.  Visit www.bluegreenalliance.org.

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Administration’s POWER Initiative is a Proactive Approach to Provide Support for Workers Affected by Energy Transition http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/administrations-power-initiative-is-a-proactive-approach-to-provide-support-for-workers-affected-by-energy-transition Fri, 27 Mar 2015 10:11:40 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/administrations-power-initiative-is-a-proactive-approach-to-provide-support-for-workers-affected-by-energy-transition FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT:
Erin Bzymek, erinb@bluegreenalliance.org, 202-706-6916

WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 27, 2015) – In Lexington, Kentucky today, the Obama administration announced details of the POWER (Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization) Initiative that allocates a range of federal resources and programs to coal communities and workers impacted by America’s energy transition, particularly in Appalachia. The initiative is part of the larger POWER+ Plan and would provide grants to impacted communities to help plan for economic development opportunities and implement workforce development strategies—make investments in workers and technologies to help as America continues its energy transition. 

BlueGreen Alliance’s Executive Director, Kim Glas recognized the administration’s leadership on these issues in the following statement: 

“The POWER+ Plan takes steps to invest in affected workers and communities, mitigate these impacts and connect workers with the necessary resources so they can arrive on the other side of this energy transition with new skills. We applaud the administration for this plan. 

“We’re all shareholders in America’s energy future. We look forward to continuing to work with the Obama administration and Congress to handle this energy transition the right way—by protecting workers and communities and growing cleaner, more reliable energy for us all.”  

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The BlueGreen Alliance is a strategic partnership that brings together major U.S. labor unions and America's most influential environmental organizations and unites nearly 16 million members and supporters in pursuit of good jobs, a clean environment and a clean economy.  Visit www.bluegreenalliance.org.

 

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Department of Energy’s $259 Million Loan Will Retool Alcoa Facility, Create 200 Jobs and Improve Fuel Efficiency http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/department-of-energys-259-million-loan-will-retool-alcoa-facility-create-200-jobs-and-improve-fuel-efficiency Thu, 26 Mar 2015 14:11:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/department-of-energys-259-million-loan-will-retool-alcoa-facility-create-200-jobs-and-improve-fuel-efficiency Labor, Environmental Leaders Applaud Commitment to Domestic Manufacturing and Competitiveness 

WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 26, 2015) – BlueGreen Alliance leaders from the United Steelworkers and Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) today applauded a Department of Energy announcement of a $259 million loan that will help Alcoa retool what will become one of the largest automotive grade aluminum facilities in North America and add 200 good jobs. The company’s advanced aluminum products will be utilized to improve the fuel economy of millions of vehicles. 

“The ATVM is a critical part of a renewed commitment to America’s manufacturing,” said United Steelworkers (USW) International President Leo W. Gerard. “It will also help the United States achieve its environmental goals.” 

The loan—carried out through the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) loan program—makes it possible for the company to expand and upgrade its Tennessee facility to make specialized aluminum sheet for vehicles like the Ford-F150 pick-up truck, America’s best-selling vehicle. Products like aluminum and high strength steel make the F-150 lighter and more fuel efficient while remaining equally powerful. 

“The UAW has been a strong supporter of the ATVM program from its inception. This program is critical for improving fuel efficiency and strengthening domestic manufacturing and increasing our nation’s competitiveness,” UAW President Dennis Williams said. “UAW members who proudly build the Ford F150 are utilizing lightweight aluminum to build the next generation of vehicles. The Department of Energy’s conditional loan to expand Alcoa’s factory in Tennessee will enhance the work of UAW members and will create more job security for them and manufacturing workers across the country.”

ATVM loans have previously helped retool 17 automotive assembly facilities such as the Dearborn Assembly Plant that manufactures the F-150. This program is one way the automotive industry is achieving the biggest reduction in greenhouse gas emissions ever undertaken in the U.S., and one of the largest achieved worldwide to date, while bringing back jobs and making powerful, globally competitive and much more fuel-efficient vehicles.

The ATVM program is designed to benefit a whole network of small, medium and large companies that support hundreds of thousands of jobs critical to America’s manufacturing industry. The DOE loan to Alcoa will also support 400 additional construction jobs. 

“It’s exciting to see the many benefits this kind of fuel-efficiency technology can deliver. Lighter-weight materials such as aluminum will help cars and trucks achieve deep carbon emissions reductions and set a higher standard on protecting the environment for generations,” said Peter Lehner, Executive Director of the Natural Resources Defense Council. 

To date the bipartisan program has provided over $8 billion in loans—matched by over $14 billion in private investment—to 18 facilities in eight states. Those facilities in turn have supported thousands of suppliers. 

View the BlueGreen Alliance's fact sheet on ATVM here.

“It’s not enough to use the latest, best, cleanest technology, we have to re-invest in the people, plants, and technology in order to realize the all of the benefits manufacturing advanced vehicles have to offer,” said Kim Glas, BlueGreen Alliance Executive Director. 

Photo credit: Sam VarnHagen Ford Motor Co.

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The BlueGreen Alliance is a strategic partnership that brings together major U.S. labor unions and America's most influential environmental organizations and unites nearly 16 million members and supporters in pursuit of good jobs, a clean environment and a clean economy. Visit www.bluegreenalliance.org.

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FACT SHEET: The Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) Loan Program: A Success Building the Next Generation of Technology in America http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/publications/the-advanced-technology-vehicle-manufacturing-atvm-loan-program-a-success-building-the-next-generation-of-technology-in-america Wed, 25 Mar 2015 04:14:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/publications/the-advanced-technology-vehicle-manufacturing-atvm-loan-program-a-success-building-the-next-generation-of-technology-in-america The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) Loan Program plays a critical role in rebuilding U.S. manufacturing and helps ensure we make the next generation of globally competitive clean transportation technology in America. These public-private  investments to date have created or saved more than 35,000 direct manufacturing jobs.

The program was created as part of the bipartisan 2007 energy bill, and has been successfully implemented across two Administrations. Today advanced manufacturing companies across the country stand to benefit from ATVM loans.

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RELEASE: Labor, Environmental Leaders Laud President Obama’s Decision to Make Pullman Area a National Monument http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/release-labor-environmental-leaders-laud-president-obamas-decision-to-make-pullman-area-a-national-monument Thu, 19 Feb 2015 15:19:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/release-labor-environmental-leaders-laud-president-obamas-decision-to-make-pullman-area-a-national-monument Site Will Celebrate Heritage of Labor and Civil Rights Movements 

CHICAGO (February 19, 2015) – President Barack Obama today announced that the Pullman area of Chicago—the site of the Pullman Palace Car Company’s planned industrial town where workers made sleeper cars for rail passengers—was designated as a national monument. The president used his authority under the Antiquities Act of 1906 to designate the site under the portfolio of the National Park Service. 

“Protecting the Pullman area for future generations is the right thing to do,” said Scott Marshall, Coordinator of Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees (SOAR) District 7. “I applaud the president and his decision to make this site that is so vital to the history of the labor movement a national monument.” 

The Pullman site was the first planned industrial town and the site of an1894 strike that triggered America’s first industry-wide walkout. Several workers died at the hands of U.S. marshals and the military and the leaders behind the strike were imprisoned. The strike and the events that followed provided a vital spark for the burgeoning labor movement in the nation. In the wake of the strike, Congress honored slain workers by making Labor Day a national holiday. 

"Designation as a national monument finally gives this site the recognition it deserves. It also expands our country's public lands system to be more inclusive and representative of the full American story," said Chuck Frank, Highland Park resident and member of Sierra Club's Board of Directors.   

The 300-acre site saw the birth of the first African-American union in America. In the 1920s, the Pullman Company was one of the largest employers of African-Americans in the country. The Brotherhood of the Sleeping Car Porters was the first African American labor union to secure bargaining rights, and chose A. Philip Randolph as its leader. As a labor leader, civil rights and social justice activist, Randolph helped win labor concessions through the 1940s that paved the way for Civil Rights victories in the 1960s and 1970s.  

“This will ensure the legacy of Pullman won’t be forgotten and will recognize the sacrifices made by workers for generations,” said Tom Conway, Jr., Regional Program Manager for the BlueGreen Alliance. “This place is a unique part of the American experience and the BlueGreen Alliance thanks the president for his leadership in ensuring its preservation.” 

For the last several years, the Pullman community has seen strong public and private investment. The State of Illinois has recently completed a $4 million renovation of the historic Hotel Florence, Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives, a non-profit developer, has invested more than $11 million in renovating historic Pullman rowhouses and the historic Pullman Wheelworks saw a $30 million renovation into 210 affordable rental units. 

Chicago remains an important manufacturing center, and the BlueGreen Alliance is one of many local and national labor, community, environmental, and industrial groups working to spur a resurgent and community-supporting rail manufacturing industry in the area. 

The newly designated national monument is expected to draw as many as 300,000 visitors annually and create several hundred jobs. It is the first national monument designated in Chicago. 

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The BlueGreen Alliance is a national partnership of America’s largest labor unions and environmental organizations. We work together to turn today’s biggest environmental challenges into our biggest economic and job-creating opportunities. Together with 15 million members and supporters, we are a powerful, unified voice calling for good, family-sustaining jobs, a clean environment and a thriving and fair American economy.  www.bluegreenalliance.org

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