Labor, Environmental Partners Commemorate Earth Day

On Earth Day, seven members of the United Steelworkers Union - each one representing a part of the supply chain involved in producing clean energy technologies in the United States - visited with lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

April 22, 2010

Seven Steelworkers Head to Capitol Hill to Lobby Senators for Comprehensive Clean Energy and Climate Change Legislation

Washington, D.C. (April 22, 2010) On the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, the BlueGreen Alliance today renewed its call for the U.S. Senate to pass comprehensive clean energy and climate change legislation that includes strong policies to create manufacturing jobs across the United States. Seven members of the United Steelworkers Union – each one representing a part of the supply chain involved in producing clean energy technologies in the United States – visited with lawmakers on Capitol Hill today to urge them to pass legislation with strong job-creating policies.

“We are meeting with members of Congress today to demonstrate the need for strong manufacturing policies in any climate change legislation so that clean energy jobs are good, American jobs,”  said Jim Campbell, a plate mill operator and USW member employed at ArcelorMittal’s steel mill in Burns Harbor, Indiana. “We represent the clean energy supply chain for windmill towers in the United States, and seek action to create good jobs that will be the foundation for our economy for generations to come.”

The BlueGreen Alliance also joined with the United Steelworkers and the Alliance for American Manufacturing to release a fact sheet highlighting the importance of policies to create good, American manufacturing jobs in clean energy, including Buy America domestic content requirements, expanding access to capital to make efficiency improvements to existing operations and build new plants to meet the demand for renewable energy projects, and the expansion by $5 billion of the Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit.

Read the fact sheet.

“More than 200 tons of steel goes into making a wind turbine and its parts, and you can’t make steel without iron ore,” said Leo W. Gerard, International President of the United Steelworkers and a Co-Founder of the BlueGreen Alliance. “Likewise, there are 8,000 component parts including gears and nacelles in a wind turbine. Every one of our members on the Hill today is employed in a clean energy job. They are also who we must be talking about when we talk about ‘green jobs.’ We must secure a place for them and their industries in this economy going forward.”

The seven USW workers are from states pivotal to passing clean energy and climate change legislation, including Raleigh Smallwood and Jim Campbell from the ArcelorMittal steel plate mill in Indiana, Ray Fron and John Tulo from Brad Foote Gear Works in Illinois, Jim Bauer from the Gamesa wind turbine nacelle plant in Pennsylvania, Bob Brown from the Hibbing Taconite iron ore mine in Minnesota, and Vance Giroux from the USX iron ore mine, also in Minnesota.

“Clean energy and climate change legislation must contain provisions and investments to spur clean energy manufacturing, while maintaining jobs for workers in energy-intensive industries, to revitalize American manufacturing and our economy,” said David Foster, Executive Director of the BlueGreen Alliance. “These workers are benefitting from the clean energy economy now, and their work exemplifies the opportunities that millions of their fellow Americans will have if we seize this moment.”

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The BlueGreen Alliance is a national partnership of labor unions and environmental organizations dedicated to expanding the number and quality of jobs in the clean energy economy. Launched by the United Steelworkers and Sierra Club in 2006, the BlueGreen Alliance now includes the Communications Workers of America, Natural Resources Defense Council, Laborers’ International Union of North America, Service Employees International Union, Utility Workers Union of America, American Federation of Teachers, Amalgamated Transit Union, and the Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association.