Steelworkers Int’l President Leo W. Gerard Joins Local Labor Leaders & Community Officials In Support of Federal Action to Address Climate Change, Create Good, American Jobs

At a Repair America roundtable in Pittsburgh, labor and community leaders came together to discuss how taking bold action on climate change will create good jobs and make our communities safer.

July 9, 2013

“Repair America” event follows President’s historic action on climate change 

PITTSBURGH, Pa. – Applauding President Obama’s plan for bold federal action to address climate change, United Steelworkers (USW) International President Leo W. Gerard and David Foster, Executive Director of the BlueGreen Alliance, joined local labor and community leaders for a “Repair America” roundtable today to discuss how addressing climate change by reducing emissions, increasing energy efficiency and increasing the resilience of our nation’s infrastructure can help protect our communities from climate change’s worst effects while creating and maintaining jobs for Americans.

“USW members work in a wide range of manufacturing industries, many of them providing products and materials vital to the nation’s infrastructure,” said Gerard. “Addressing climate change is critical – not only will bold action protect our environment and communities, it will also create good manufacturing jobs and economic growth across all sectors of our country.”

Today’s roundtable, hosted by the BlueGreen Alliance and United Steelworkers, also featured Rich Fitzgerald, County Executive of Allegheny County; Jack Shea and Sylvia Wilson of the Allegheny County Labor Council, AFL-CIO; Jan Lauer, Director of 3 Rivers Clean Energy; and James Kunz, Business Manager of IUOE Local 66. The roundtable discussion comes two weeks after President Obama took action on climate change by announcing the nation’s first-ever limits on carbon pollution, as well as plans to prepare our infrastructure for the effects of climate change, invest in clean energy, and promote energy efficiency.

Last year, Hurricane Sandy exposed vulnerabilities in the infrastructure systems that Americans depend on – including our roads, bridges, energy, communications and transit systems. Since then, severe weather across the country has continued to demonstrate an urgent need to better prepare communities for climate change.

“We’ve seen firsthand the impacts of climate change through more severe and more frequent storms, droughts and other weather events that lead to dangerous conditions like wildfires and massive infrastructure damage,” said Foster. “The good news of all of this is that Americans are ready to take action. It’s time to follow the President’s lead and take comprehensive action on climate change. A changing climate is a threat to our health, to our communities and to our economy – and we cannot afford to wait any longer to act.”

Between 2011 and 2013, the U.S. spent $136 billion on disaster relief to rebuild communities after extreme weather events that are only getting worse with climate change. In Pennsylvania alone, there have been 13 major disaster declarations in just 10 years from severe storms, including Hurricanes Irene and Sandy and Tropical Storm Lee.

Nearly two-thirds of voters (65 percent) support “the President taking significant steps to address climate change now,” according to a February 2013 poll for the League of Conservation Voters.

BlueGreen Alliance unites 14 of America’s largest unions and environmental organizations to speak in one powerful voice on the benefits of building a cleaner, fairer and more competitive American economy. More information on the work of BlueGreen Alliance may be found here.

PITTSBURGH, Pa. – Applauding President Obama’s plan for bold federal action to address climate change, United Steelworkers (USW) International President Leo W. Gerard and David Foster, Executive Director of the BlueGreen Alliance, joined local labor and community leaders for a “Repair America” roundtable today to discuss how addressing climate change by reducing emissions, increasing energy efficiency and increasing the resilience of our nation’s infrastructure can help protect our communities from climate change’s worst effects while creating and maintaining jobs for Americans.

“USW members work in a wide range of manufacturing industries, many of them providing products and materials vital to the nation’s infrastructure,” said Gerard. “Addressing climate change is critical – not only will bold action protect our environment and communities, it will also create good manufacturing jobs and economic growth across all sectors of our country.”

Today’s roundtable, hosted by the BlueGreen Alliance and United Steelworkers, also featured Rich Fitzgerald, County Executive of Allegheny County; Jack Shea and Sylvia Wilson of the Allegheny County Labor Council, AFL-CIO; Jan Lauer, Director of 3 Rivers Clean Energy; and James Kunz, Business Manager of IUOE Local 66. The roundtable discussion comes two weeks after President Obama took action on climate change by announcing the nation’s first-ever limits on carbon pollution, as well as plans to prepare our infrastructure for the effects of climate change, invest in clean energy, and promote energy efficiency.

Last year, Hurricane Sandy exposed vulnerabilities in the infrastructure systems that Americans depend on – including our roads, bridges, energy, communications and transit systems. Since then, severe weather across the country has continued to demonstrate an urgent need to better prepare communities for climate change.

“We’ve seen firsthand the impacts of climate change through more severe and more frequent storms, droughts and other weather events that lead to dangerous conditions like wildfires and massive infrastructure damage,” said Foster. “The good news of all of this is that Americans are ready to take action. It’s time to follow the President’s lead and take comprehensive action on climate change. A changing climate is a threat to our health, to our communities and to our economy – and we cannot afford to wait any longer to act.”

Between 2011 and 2013, the U.S. spent $136 billion on disaster relief to rebuild communities after extreme weather events that are only getting worse with climate change. In Pennsylvania alone, there have been 13 major disaster declarations in just 10 years from severe storms, including Hurricanes Irene and Sandy and Tropical Storm Lee.

Nearly two-thirds of voters (65 percent) support “the President taking significant steps to address climate change now,” according to a February 2013 poll for the League of Conservation Voters.

BlueGreen Alliance unites 14 of America’s largest unions and environmental organizations to speak in one powerful voice on the benefits of building a cleaner, fairer and more competitive American economy. More information on the work of BlueGreen Alliance may be found here.