As Trump Travels to Minnesota and Wisconsin to Tout Record, New Report Spotlights Trump Administration’s Attacks on Workers, the Environment, and Jobs

Ahead of President Trump’s rallies in Minnesota and Wisconsin, the BlueGreen Alliance today released Misled: The Impact of the Trump Administration’s Agenda on Working Families and the Environment, an interactive report exploring the real world impacts of the Trump administration’s actions on workers’ rights and safety, environmental protection, job creation, and pandemic response.

“This report illustrates the many ways that Donald Trump is failing American workers, endangering the environment and our communities, and putting lives at risk,” BlueGreen Alliance Executive Director Jason Walsh said. “Families and communities in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and all around our nation have suffered the consequences of the president’s decisions. This report focuses on the impacts of some of the most egregious actions by the administration on workers’ rights and safety, environmental protection, job creation, and pandemic response, as a comprehensive look at the negative impacts of this administration on the nation would fill the Library of Congress.”

The report found the Trump administration rolled back numerous policies designed to protect workers, communities, and the environment. Under the false premise that these actions would create jobs, President Trump dismantled worker safety regulations, starved the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of staff and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of power, and stepped away from environmental policies that keep the nation’s air and water clean. The report should provide workers and others with the information they need to understand the current impact of these policies and work toward changing them to protect workers and our communities.

The report further explores the impact of the Trump administration on communities of color. The group urged the Trump administration to reverse these actions.

“President Trump’s claims to be pro-worker, pro-family, and pro-environment are demonstrably false, as made clear by his actions over the course of the last three-and-a-half years,” Walsh said. “This president has put countless lives at risk in communities across the nation, he’s failed to protect workers during a massive global health crisis, he’s ceded tens of thousands of jobs to other countries, and he’s allowed for more pollution to be dumped into our air and water. It’s no wonder Trump is running around the country talking about America needing a ‘comeback,’ as every American is living with the consequences of his actions over the last three years.”

Click below to view the report.

Misled

Misled: The Impact of the Trump Administration’s Agenda on Working Families and the Environment

 This report should provide workers and others with the information they need to understand the current impact of these policies and work toward changing them to protect workers and our communities.

There is no doubt the negative impacts of this presidency on working families will be studied in great detail in the years to come. For the purposes of this report, the impacts of some of the most egregious actions on workers’ rights and safety, environmental protection, job creation, and pandemic response will be reviewed. This report sheds light on the Trump administration’s actions that have negatively impacted working families, communities, and workplaces.

Click below to view the report.

Misled

BlueGreen Alliance Applauds House Passage of H.R. 2, Moving Forward Act

The bill includes many provisions included in the BlueGreen Alliance’s COVID-19 Recovery Priorities, Infrastructure Priorities, and Manufacturing Agenda.

In response to today’s vote the BlueGreen Alliance released the following statement from Executive Director Jason Walsh:

“In the middle of the greatest public health crisis of a generation America is falling apart. We have millions of workers filing for unemployment due to COVID-19, rampant and systematic racism that pervades our society, gaps in our manufacturing base that leave our citizens and economy vulnerable, and the infrastructure systems that we rely on every day have been neglected for a generation and are crumbling and dangerous. Students in low-income communities and predominately communities of color are learning in schools full of asbestos and lead pipes, bridges and transit systems are unable to withstand the impacts of climate change, and leaking natural gas pipes are a hazard to people and the environment.

“Today’s action by the House puts the nation on a path to economic recovery at a time when millions of Americans are out of work, while repairing our infrastructure and boosting our manufacturing sector. The investments included in the Moving Forward Act will create good, family-sustaining jobs across the nation, while improving public health and reducing the emissions driving climate change.

“We applaud the House for its leadership on this important issue and urge Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans to move past their tradition of inaction and act now, not only to pass this critical piece of legislation, but to protect workers during the COVID-19 crisis and boost economic recovery.”

BlueGreen Alliance Applauds House Democrats for New Effort to Spur Economic Recovery with Infrastructure and Manufacturing Focus

After the announcement, the BlueGreen Alliance released the following statement from Executive Director Jason Walsh.

“America is falling apart. We have millions of workers without jobs due to Covid-19, rampant and systematic racism that pervades our society, gaps in our manufacturing base that leave our citizens and economy vulnerable, and the infrastructure systems we rely on every day—for clean water, to get from place to place, to educate our children, to heat and power our homes and businesses, and to communicate with each other—have been neglected for a generation and are crumbling and dangerous.

“Today, Speaker Pelosi and leaders in the House have released a path forward that can put people back to work repairing and modernizing our infrastructure to be cleaner and more resilient, rebuild manufacturing and manufacturing jobs, and enhance justice and equity to our society by prioritizing investments in communities that need it most—including low-income communities, communities of color, and deindustrialized communities in need of economic revitalization.”

“We haven’t evaluated the full bill, but this proposal is a stark contrast to the inaction from Senate Majority Leader McConnell and Republicans in the Senate, like we have seen with other legislation to protect workers and provide needed relief previously passed by the House. They too must act because we cannot afford to wait a minute longer to get America on a path to recovery.”

BlueGreen Alliance Applauds House Action on Infrastructure

In May 2019, the BlueGreen Alliance released its Infrastructure Priorities, laying out a plan to repair and modernize the nation’s infrastructure, support the creation of high-quality jobs, reduce the emissions driving climate change, and make communities more resilient.

In response to the release of the infrastructure platform the BlueGreen Alliance released the following statement from Executive Director Jason Walsh:

“Our nation’s infrastructure has been neglected for far too long. Communities across the country are burdened by crumbling roads and bridges, pipes that leach lead and toxics into water supplies, schools that are woefully outdated and unsafe, and entire infrastructure systems that are just one storm away from failing. We applaud the release of this framework. Now it is time for Congress to move forward to repair and transform our infrastructure in ways that will drive the creation of good jobs here in the United States—through the inclusion of strong labor and procurement provisions—and address the climate crisis by reducing emissions.”

Year-End Priorities Letter to House Leadership

 There is opportunity to make real progress in key areas around climate change and job creation. We urge you to take advantage of the closing weeks of this session to advance key priorities.

Specifically, before 2019 comes to a close, we urge Congress to:

1. Fulfill our nation’s responsibility to coal miners and coal communities by passing bills targeted at reinvestment in these communities and protection of coal miners’ health and wellbeing.

2. Invest in clean energy. We also urged Congress to include critical clean energy tax credits in any end-of-year spending package.

3. Pass bills to invest in infrastructure, advance innovation, and protect workers.

We also urged that Congress ensure that the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) only come to a vote if it levels the playing field and makes deep reforms to strengthen workers’ rights and climate and environmental standards, with independent and binding enforcement.

Labor, Environmental Leaders Release Historic “Solidarity for Climate Action” Platform

Leaders from the BlueGreen Alliance today released their platform to create good-paying jobs and fight income inequality by addressing the climate crisis at the headquarters of the United Steelworkers (USW) in Pittsburgh. The historic platform—entitled Solidarity for Climate Action—would put workers at the forefront of the ongoing discussion about how America will tackle climate change. It is the first such comprehensive plan to address climate change put forward by America’s largest unions.

“This historic moment in labor and environmental cooperation is the culmination of more than a decade of work,” said Leo W. Gerard, International President of the United Steelworkers (USW). “The platform we are unveiling today is a roadmap to address both the climate crisis and growing income inequality in a way that leaves no workers or communities behind. The USW is proud to be a part of this effort, and I urge leaders at every level of government to help us make this plan a reality.”

“The only way we can tackle the climate crisis is with a broad coalition working to build and grow the clean energy economy that works for every community,” said Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune. “The Sierra Club is proud to be a founding member of the BlueGreen Alliance and prouder still to support this platform to tackle the dual crises of climate change and inequality while creating new family-sustaining careers across the country.”

“We will not allow any worker or frontline community to be left behind as we build an economy with net-zero emissions—and this historic platform charts the path forward. The National Wildlife Federation is proud to stand with the BlueGreen Alliance, America’s workers, and our fellow conservation organizations to demonstrate that smart climate action supports both family-sustaining jobs and healthy natural resources,” said Collin O’Mara, President and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “We will work with our allies to transform this powerful platform into action across the country.”

“Our new climate platform demonstrates that the labor and environmental movements are unified, committed and energized to fight the growing dangers, and costs, from climate change. Together we can ensure that cutting climate pollution, rebuilding our infrastructure, making our communities resilient and transitioning to a clean energy economy will provide better jobs and lives for hard working families, while safeguarding everyone against the worst impacts of climate change,” said Susan Casey-Lefkowitz, Director of Programs at the Natural Resources Defense Council.

The “Solidarity for Climate Action” platform addresses the dual crises of climate change and income inequality in a number of ways, including calling for rapid reductions of greenhouse gas emissions to put America on a pathway of reducing its emissions to net zero by 2050 and massive immediate investments in clean and renewable technology and energy efficiency across all sectors; efforts to increase union density across the country through strong support of the right to organize throughout the economy, including in the clean technology sectors; and rebuilding and modernizing America’s infrastructure and making our communities more resilient.

“As we look to America’s energy future, we must spend as much time planning for how current energy sector workers will navigate this shift as we do implementing policies that will address climate change,” said D. Michael Langford, President of the Utility Workers Union of America. “With the right approach, we can take significant steps that put America on the path to net zero emissions, while creating high-quality jobs that bolster the middle class. We look forward to working with state and federal lawmakers, communities, and other stakeholders to bring this vision of an inclusive, solutions-based approach to life.”

The platform also focuses on revitalizing and expanding the public sector workforce, ensuring staffing levels are sufficient to accomplish clean energy, resilience, adaptation, and crisis response objectives; building a national strategy to lead in clean and emerging technology production and supply chain development, including major investments in domestic manufacturing and innovation, penalizing offshoring, and a commitment to at least doubling funding of clean technology research, development, manufacturing, and deployment; and ensuring effective and equitable access to high-quality employment, training, and advancement for workers from low-income households, those historically under-represented on the basis of race, gender, and other criteria, and those adversely impacted or dislocated by technological change.

“The BlueGreen Alliance platform is a framework for urgent action with the specific recommendations needed to address climate change while ensuring the clean energy economy supports good union jobs,” said Service Employees International Union (SEIU) International President Mary Kay Henry. “SEIU members—whose homes have been destroyed by wildfires or floods, and who treat children whose asthma has been exacerbated by dirty air—support immediate, bold action on climate change.”

“We have the technologies and strategies that we need to transform the economy in a way that benefits American workers, communities, and the environment we all depend on,” said Kathleen Rest, Executive Director of the Union of Concerned Scientists. “But it will take real leadership from the White House and Congress to get the job done. UCS is committed to working with our BlueGreen Alliance partners and other allies to build support all across the country for this bold action plan.”

Finally, the groups said “Solidarity for Climate Action” features bold plans to guarantee pensions and to supply a bridge of wage support, healthcare, and retirement security until an impacted worker either finds new employment or reaches retirement. It also seeks trade agreements that are enforceable, fair for all workers, and benefit the environment—including the climate—and requirements for fair and safe working conditions throughout global supply chains.

“This bold plan of action addresses the climate crisis while creating and protecting good-paying jobs across the country,” said Elizabeth Gore, the Environmental Defense Action Fund’s Senior Vice President of Political Affairs. “Innovative technology combined with ambitious policy can improve opportunities for workers while dramatically cutting climate pollution and making our air cleaner.  This landmark effort was years in the making and it provides a blueprint to tackle some of the most pressing challenges that we face.”

“‘Solidarity for Climate Action’ lays out a powerful and achievable platform to address the twin crises of economic and social inequality and climate change,” said League of Conservation Voters (LCV) President Gene Karpinski. “Working families must be at the center of the rapid transformation our society needs to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, the reductions scientists tell us we must reach to tackle the climate crisis. LCV is proud to be part of this historic collaboration between labor and environmental leaders and encourage policy makers to work with us to turn this roadmap for a more fair and cleaner society into a reality.”

“To build a better future for all Americans we have to have a plan to fight climate change that works for everyone and this is it,” said Mike Williams, Interim Co-Executive Director of the BlueGreen Alliance. “This isn’t going to be easy, but it is necessary to secure the future of our nation and planet. We urge leaders from across the country to embrace this platform and we look forward to working with them to build a stronger, fairer, cleaner economy that works for all Americans.”

To download platform click the button below. A video of the Pittsburgh event is available at https://www.bluegreenalliance.org/work-issue/solidarity-for-climate-action/.

BlueGreen Alliance Testifies at Infrastructure Hearing

The BlueGreen Alliance today testified during the House Committee on Energy and Commerce hearing on the LIFT America Act, a bill that would invest in infrastructure around the country to modernize and repair it. The BlueGreen Alliance’s Legislative Director Jessica Eckdish testified, “tackling the crisis of our aging infrastructure—if done right—is a significant opportunity to increase U.S. global competitiveness, create quality, family-sustaining jobs across the country, significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other pollution, and make our children healthier and our communities more more resilient.”

Click the link below to read her full written testimony.

BlueGreen Alliance and Members Release Infrastructure Priorities

During “Infrastructure Week” and following the announcement from Speaker Pelosi and Leader Schumer that President Trump tentatively agreed to work on a $2 trillion infrastructure package, the BlueGreen Alliance and its labor and environmental partners released a set of infrastructure priorities and policy recommendations.

Along with the priorities, a letter to House and Senate leadership was sent. The letter is signed by the leaders of: United Steelworkers; Sierra Club; Communications Workers of America; International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART); International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers; Utility Workers Union of America; National Wildlife Federation; Natural Resources Defense Council; Union of Concerned Scientists; American Federation of Teachers; Environmental Defense Fund; League of Conservation Voters; United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters; and the BlueGreen Alliance.

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)’s 2017 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure gave the nation’s infrastructure a grade of “D+,” and estimated that getting to a grade of “B” would require a significant federal investment over the next 10 years. BlueGreen Alliance research has found that investing an estimated $2.2 trillion in key sectors of America’s infrastructure has the potential to support or create an additional 14.5 million job-years across the U.S. economy, add a cumulative $1.66 trillion to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) over 10 years, and reduce greenhouse gas pollution and boost climate resilience, versus a business as-usual approach.

“Our nation’s infrastructure faces a critical level of disrepair. Years of neglect have left us with unreliable systems that endanger essential utilities such as water, gas, and electricity,” said D. Michael Langford, President of the Utility Workers Union of America. “If implemented, the priorities released today with our partners in the BlueGreen Alliance would address this perilous situation while creating millions of good jobs and preparing the critical systems communities rely on to manage the impacts of climate change.”

The group calls for a robust investment across a number of sectors, including: investing in grid resiliency; reducing and repairing methane leaks in natural gas distribution; addressing lead in drinking water; rebuilding school infrastructure; expanding transit and electric vehicle charging infrastructure; and reclaiming abandoned mine land. Additionally, the priorities call for the inclusion of strong labor and procurement standards, a focus on resiliency and pollution reduction, and hiring and procurement policies aimed at benefiting communities and local workers—especially for people of color and low-income communities.

“Leaders from across the political spectrum have said infrastructure is the one area where Congress could rise above politics as usual and deliver big—for workers, wildlife, and communities. Congress and the White House should seize this opportunity to rebuild America’s roads, bridges, pipelines, and rails and to invest in workers, support community resilience, and act on climate change,” said Collin O’Mara, President and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “The BlueGreen Alliance’s infrastructure priorities lay out a thoughtful and realistic roadmap, not simply to patch failing roads and bridges, but to build the resilient, climate-smart infrastructure we need for the next century.”

“Repairing and modernizing our nation’s crumbing infrastructure is a massive task, but done right—with strong labor and procurement standards—we can boost our economy, create millions of jobs, safeguard our environment, reduce our emissions, and better prepare our communities for the impacts of climate change,” said Mike Williams, Interim Co-Executive Director of the BlueGreen Alliance. “This is an issue that impacts every American and one that has been ignored for far too long. We need smart, robust, immediate action. The policies we’ve laid out here will put us on a path to lead the world in building the innovative infrastructure systems of the future.”

Investing in America’s Infrastructure to Create High-Quality Jobs and Protect the Environment

Click the image to download the document.

We should be leading the world in building the innovative infrastructure systems that will ensure our global competitiveness and security in the 21stcentury and beyond.Yet, American infrastructure systems are in dire need of modernization. The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)’s latest 2017 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure gave the nation’s infrastructure a grade of “D+,” and estimated that getting to a grade of “B” would require a significant federal investment over the next 10 years. Our aging infrastructure is also being battered by hurricanes, extreme weather, and sea level rise.

Our nation must move forward with a robust and ambitious plan to rebuild and transform America’s infrastructure. This plan must address all aspects of our infrastructure needs, including the electric grid, methane leaks in the natural gas distribution sector, surface transportation, industrial infrastructure and advanced manufacturing, water infrastructure, schools, housing, commercial buildings, broadband, and natural infrastructure. Congress must move forward a plan to meet this need, including boosting revenue to support the public sectors’ ability to meet this challenge

BlueGreen Alliance research has found that investing an estimated $2.2 trillion in the sectors above to improve them from a “D+” grade overall to a “B” grade has the potential to support or create an additional 14.5 million job-years across the U.S. economy, add a cumulative $1.66 trillion to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) over 10 years, and reduce greenhouse gas pollution, versus a business-as-usual approach. Making these smart investments will pay dividends for our environment and communities by reducing air and water pollution—including the emissions driving climate change—reducing the use of materials and chemicals that are hazardous to human health, and making our communities more resilient to the impacts of climate change. Building infrastructure with future conditions in mind is also smarter and more cost-effective than rebuilding systems that have proven to be vulnerable.

We will accrue these benefits only if we tackle this challenge the right way.To ensure we maximize the benefits of our infrastructure investments for communities, the environment, and workers, any infrastructure package must:

  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other forms of air and water pollution;
  • Ensure all projects built with public resources are subject to Buy America standards that maximize the return to taxpayers, workers and the American economy;
  • Enforce Davis-Bacon provisions that ensure workers are paid prevailing wages;
  • Utilize project labor agreements (PLAs), community benefit agreements, local hire, and other provisions and practices that prioritize improving training, working conditions, and project benefits, including respect for collective bargaining agreements and workers’ organizing rights such as neutrality, majority sign-up, and first contract arbitration;
  • Drive forward-looking planning and investments that meet environmental standards and build resilient infrastructure systems and communities, including through natural infrastructure solutions;
  • Improve air and water quality and public health;
  • Prioritize use of the most efficient, resilient, and cleanest materials and products with the lowest carbon and toxicity footprints;
  • Enhance workforce training and development programs to expand the number of skilled workers in new and existing industries;
  • Increase pathways to economic opportunities for communities and local workers, especially for people of color and low-income communities;
  • Prioritize public funding and financing for infrastructure investment. All financing methods should be held to strong public interest standards; and
  • Increasing public safety. By modernizing and making needed repairs that can help prevent catastrophic events.

Repairing America’s infrastructure systems is both urgently needed and an enormous opportunity; it should be a bipartisan legislative priority in the 116thCongress.

Read our letter to members of Congress.

Click the link below to download our priorities.

BlueGreen Alliance Calls for Comprehensive Infrastructure Package

The BlueGreen Alliance released the following statement from Interim Co-Executive Director Mike Williams:

“It’s time to put millions of Americans to work repairing America’s crumbling infrastructure systems. We’re happy to see this movement and look forward to working with Congressional leadership to shape a comprehensive infrastructure package. If we do it right, we can create millions of jobs and strengthen our communities, while simultaneously reducing pollution and combating climate change.”

Creating Good Jobs as California Transitions to Electric Buses

The following blog is from Jobs to Move America California Director Erika Thi Patterson and BlueGreen Alliance West Coast Director JB Tengco.

California recently mandated the transition to zero emission transit buses with a good job creation provision, giving hope that the transition will benefit communities often left behind in the rush to adopt new technology: communities of color, women, veterans, and people returning home from prison.

The need for good jobs in California is more pressing than ever, especially within low-income communities and communities of color. For example, a much higher percentage of Latinx and African-Americans in California live in census tracts that are highly impacted by pollution, health disparities, and high rates of poverty and unemployment. California’s poverty rate also tops the nation when housing costs are factored into the cost of living.

That’s why the BlueGreen Alliance and Jobs to Move America (JMA) are working together in California to ensure that investments in zero emission bus manufacturing lead to economic opportunities and career pathways for disadvantaged workers.

With JMA and the BlueGreen Alliance’s involvement, California’s Department of General Services recently put forward a contract for zero emission buses that incentivized bidders to provide high-quality, good-paying jobs for workers building the buses. These buses will be purchased by transit agencies throughout the state.

This effort comes on the heels of the California Air Resources Board’s decision to mandate that all transit agencies in the state operate 100 percent zero emission transit buses by 2040, while investing in workforce training programs in manufacturing, infrastructure installation, and maintenance. A diverse set of community, labor, and environmental groups supported the Air Resource Board’s decision, including our groups, the United Steelworkers, Sierra Club, Earthjustice, Union of Concerned Scientists, American Lung Association, Coalition for Clean Air, Communications Workers of America District 9, the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART), SMART Western States Council, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 11, IBEW Local 569, and IBEW LMCC.

The passage of this rule and the inclusion of jobs policy language in the DGS master contract is a huge win for many in our communities who—despite working hard for years—have been unable to benefit from the Silicon Valley tech boom and infrastructure investment. Not only will this transition to zero emission buses reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but it also has the potential to create and support tens of thousands of jobs in our state.

And it isn’t just zero emissions public transit buses that will reduce emissions and create high quality jobs. A grant opportunity from the California Energy Commission (CEC) for bulk purchasing of electric school buses is in the works. The BlueGreen Alliance, JMA, and the State Labor Federation’s Workforce and Economic Development unit worked together to secure good jobs and equity language in this taxpayer funded public investment as well. Now CEC’s efforts to eliminate school bus tailpipe emissions will also drive equitable economic development.

Moving to cleaner transit is one way we can reduce harmful air pollution and create good-paying jobs targeted to communities long excluded from pathways to middle-class jobs. This is a critical chance for communities of color, people returning home from prison, women, veterans, and others facing systemic barriers to employment.

California is leading the way in building a clean economy. Leaders in the state are finally realizing that the quality of jobs created by climate investments matters. Policy work in electric bus manufacturing provides just another example of California’s growing commitment to building a clean, fair, strong economy for all.