PITTSBURGH, PA – The United Steelworkers (USW) today hosted a BlueGreen Alliance roundtable to discuss strategies for mobilizing the next generation of leaders in business, labor and government to create family-sustaining jobs that also combat the effects of climate change.
Steelworkers joined local elected officials and representatives from green industries at the USW international headquarters to discuss how young leaders can move forward in expanding the clean economy, focusing on environmentally-friendly policies that will also create good, middle-class jobs.
“In our union, we have seen firsthand that we can have both good jobs and work towards a clean, green environment,” said USW International President Leo W. Gerard. “But we also have seen the pain that comes when these jobs get shipped overseas. A bright future for young people is one where we have a sustainable environment and a healthy economy that is built around domestic manufacturing that helps us achieve our clean energy goals.”
Speakers focused on President Obama’s climate action plan and other policies that will help create jobs and prevent climate change for decades to come.
“America’s workers are a key stakeholder in the clean economy,” said USW International Vice President Tom Conway. “If we double-down on investments in home-grown clean energy technologies like wind and solar, we’ll see the benefits multiply in domestic manufacturing and the construction and installation of these projects.”
The speakers stressed that the key to ensuring America’s continuing economic strength, while minimizing the environmental impacts, is a consistent commitment to green jobs.
“Our region will benefit tremendously from a diverse energy portfolio, key to which is President Obama’s push to invest in renewable energy and energy efficiency,” said Chelsa Wagner, Allegheny County Controller. “We can create good jobs, reduce pollution, address climate change, and ensure America’s competitiveness globally.”
Programs such as the Recovery Act and the Production Tax Credit (PTC) have effectively incentivized investments in the clean economy that are helping to prevent the effects of climate change and create jobs. Pennsylvania’s clean economy currently employs more than 118,600 workers, making up approximately two percent of Pennsylvania’s total workforce.
“As an employer and business owner, the green economy has impacted my business in so many positive ways,” said Kevin Whalen, president of Q-Dot Inc. “Continuing with the incentives that are working today will only make our economy stronger and more competitive.”
The roundtable took place as national and state youth-led social and environmental justice leaders put their heads together on the unique role young people can play in addressing the global climate crisis at the annual Power Shift conference in Pittsburgh.