Following the announcement that the BlueGreen Alliance and Apollo Alliance would merge, joining forces to build a stronger, more effective movement to create good clean energy jobs, the BlueGreen Alliance released a statement from Executive Director David Foster:
“Earlier today, the BlueGreen Alliance and the Apollo Alliance announced that the two organizations will merge to build a stronger, more effective movement for creating clean energy jobs while also addressing the climate crisis and breaking our dependence on foreign oil.
“The combined organization will continue to be known as the BlueGreen Alliance and co-Chaired by United Steelworkers International President Leo W. Gerard and Sierra Club Chair Carl Pope, and I will continue as Executive Director.
“The announcement was made at a special press conference call where we were joined by Apollo Alliance Chairman Phil Angelides and U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown, who used the occasion to announce the introduction of the Strengthening Manufacturing and Rebuilding Transit (SMART) Act, which would invest in American-made transportation infrastructure.
“In 2006, the United Steelworkers and the Sierra Club formed the BlueGreen Alliance in an effort to dispel the idea that environmental protection and job creation were opposing values. From the start, we have maintained that the world economy can no longer operate on a false choice between good jobs and a clean environment. The climate crisis underscored this new reality; the choice is now both or neither.
“Yet, nearly three years into a profound economic crisis, we are still facing an unemployment problem of historic proportions. And we are seeing daily the effects of inaction on climate change with escalating environmental and economic impacts across the country and around the world.
“At the same time, the U.S. is falling behind in the race for a clean energy economy while China and Europe make unprecedented investments in the transition to renewable energy. The U.S. cannot afford to sit on the sidelines as the rest of the world takes advantage of the most significant job creating opportunity in a generation.
“That is why the decision to combine the BlueGreen Alliance and the Apollo Alliance is one of many important steps that all of us need to take to forge a stronger movement to demand the transition to a clean energy economy. With 24 million Americans currently unemployed or underemployed and Congress paralyzed from taking action on climate change, our country’s economic and environmental challenges are inextricably linked and demand a common solution.
“Launched in 2006 by the United Steelworkers and the Sierra Club, the BlueGreen Alliance today includes the Communications Workers of America (CWA), Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Service Employees International Union (SEIU), National Wildlife Federation (NWF), Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA), Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA), American Federation of Teachers (AFT), Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU), Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association, United Auto Workers and the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW). Our partner organizations unite more than 14 million members.
“Earlier this year, the BlueGreen Alliance launched Jobs21! — a nine-state, grassroots campaign calling for a national jobs plan to create seven million jobs putting America to work building the clean energy industries of the 21st century here in the United States. And the Apollo Alliance recently launched the Clean Transportation Manufacturing Action Plan (TMAP) project, which offers a national jobs plan within the transportation sector. It calls for federal investment that will create 3.7 million direct and indirect jobs — including 600,000 in manufacturing — over six years and will save Americans up to $5,000 per family each year in commuting costs. Together these initiatives form the basis of a movement to combine the solutions to unemployment and climate change.
“But building a movement that can lead to a new direction in Washington, D.C. will not come easily, nor can it rely on sticking to old orthodoxies. We simply must be willing to build new partnerships and take risks on new organizational structures. The BGA-Apollo merger is done in that spirit.
“Together, we will make the 21st century American clean economy a reality.”