Construction Trade Union Will Help Labor-Environmental Partnership Fight for Good Jobs, a Clean Environment
WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 26, 2011) The BlueGreen Alliance announced today that the United Association of Plumbers, Pipefitters, Sprinkler Fitters and Service Technicians (UA) has joined its fast-growing and unique labor-environmental partnership. With 340,000 highly-skilled members who are engaged in the fabrication, installation and servicing of piping systems, the UA brings to the BlueGreen Alliance a special commitment to the design, installation and maintenance of sustainable water and energy systems in commercial and public buildings and in our homes.
“UA knows from experience that the economy is fast shifting toward a cleaner, more sustainable future, and that in order to create good jobs, we need to ensure that our workers are prepared to meet the demands of that 21st century economy,” said BlueGreen Alliance Executive Director David Foster. “We are pleased to welcome UA into the ever-growing fold of unions and environmental organizations who are working to advance the reality that environmental protection and job creation are inextricably linked in the future of the American economy.”
“The UA and its 340,000 members have a deep commitment to sustainability in our built environment because our members are trained to design, install and maintain energy efficient systems in the home and workplace, and because our members – many of them hunters and fishermen and women themselves – are committed to environmental protection,” said UA President William P. Hite. “The BlueGreen Alliance embodies this commitment and we look forward to working with our partners in the labor and environmental movements to advance job creation through solutions that make our economy stronger and our environment cleaner.”
UA has a long held commitment to sustainability. The union’s members, which include plumbers, pipefitters, sprinkler fitters, steamfitters and HVAC service technicians, are charged with the design, installation and maintenance of systems that achieve water efficiency, energy efficiency, storm water design and indoor air quality throughout the life of an industrial, commercial or residential building.
Among the UA’s priorities is restoration of America’s water infrastructure. According to the Alliance for American Manufacturing, every $1 billion spent in water infrastructure improvements creates nearly 20,000 jobs. The UA supports reauthorization of the Water Resources Development Act, as well as continued and increased funding for water infrastructure programs to preserve our health and boost job creation.
“About 40 percent of greenhouse gas emissions come from the nation’s buildings, and that energy usage is a huge element in addressing climate change,” said Sierra Club Chairman Carl Pope, a Co-founder of the BlueGreen Alliance. “UA recognizes the immense economic potential of solving our nation’s environmental challenge and represents workers who are working each day to make our economy more efficient while cleaning up our environment.”
“To protect the world’s natural resources and its wildlife, we must strive to build a cleaner, more energy efficient economy,” said National Wildlife Federation President and CEO Larry Schweiger. “UA understands that, and we are pleased to welcome them to this important partnership.”
The BlueGreen Alliance is a national partnership of labor unions and environmental organizations working to expand the number and quality of jobs in the 21st century economy. Launched by the United Steelworkers and the Sierra Club in 2006, the BlueGreen Alliance has since expanded to include 11 major U.S. labor unions and four of the nation’s most influential environmental organizations, uniting nearly 15 million members and supporters.
“A sustainable economy is critical to reducing carbon dioxide pollution and protecting our environment for the next generation,” said Peter Lehner, executive director of the Natural Resources Defense Council. “UA brings to the BlueGreen Alliance the unique perspective of working men and women who actually implement clean energy solutions every day.”
“The equation is pretty simple: to keep the jobs we have today and to put millions of Americans back to work, the United States has to compete for the industries that drive our economy into the future. We can win the global competition for the development and production of clean energy and green technologies, but we have to take action now,” said United Steelworkers International President Leo W. Gerard, a Co-founder of the labor-environmental partnership. “With the addition of the UA to the ranks of the BlueGreen Alliance, the movement is growing to create good jobs and build a stronger, more efficient and more prosperous American economy.”