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About the Washington BlueGreen Alliance
The Washington BlueGreen Alliance is a statewide coalition of labor unions and environmental groups working together to address our state’s environmental challenges in a way that promotes economic justice. Our members believe deeply that environmental devastation and economic inequality are among the greatest and most urgent threats that we face today. They believe just as firmly that the two are inseparable. This conviction drives our collective work to identify and champion policies that simultaneously protect environmental and community health, grow high-road economic opportunities accessible to all and strengthen workers’ voices.
Read the Washington State BlueGreen Alliance Climate Policy Principles.
Executive Committee Members:
- Washington State Labor Council (co-chair)
- Sierra Club (co-chair)
- United Steelworkers
- Washington Building Trades
- Washington Environmental Council
- Climate Solutions
For more information on our work, contact Jessica Koski at email@example.com.
Washington BlueGreen Alliance | 2023 Legislative Session Wrap-Up
The Washington BlueGreen Alliance took on its largest, most diverse agenda yet for the 2023 Legislative Session. Together, our labor and environmental partners made significant progress on the Alliance’s goals to make Washington a leader in clean manufacturing; accelerate the shift to 100% clean energy; and ensure Washington communities are resilient to the impacts of climate change and the low-carbon transition—all in ways that create good, union jobs and uplift workers’ voices.
Making Washington a leader in clean manufacturing
With robust support from across the blue-green spectrum, the Washington State Legislature took action to transform and strengthen the state’s manufacturing base by passing 2SSB 5269—the Washington Clean Manufacturing Leadership Bill. Championed by State Senator Sharon Shewmake, 2SSB is small but mighty. It directs the Washington State Department of Commerce to develop a statewide industrial strategy and funds dedicated capacity at Commerce to track, promote, and secure federal funding for manufacturing.These steps ensure that Washington pursues its statutory commitment to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 in a way that preserves and grows the state’s industrial base and fully leverages the federal government’s unprecedented $9 billion investment in decarbonizing and revitalizing domestic manufacturing.
Labor and environmental partners joined together to support the Buy Clean and Buy Fair Washington Act. Unfortunately, the legislature again failed to pass the bill—ESHB 1282—which requires reporting on the carbon content and labor conditions of certain construction materials. Buy Clean and Buy Fair is a common sense move to leverage existing state spending to accelerate industrial decarbonization and promote the competitiveness of low-carbon manufacturers. Under the leadership of Representative Duerr, the bill made its way from the House Committee on Capital Budget to the Senate Committee on Ways & Means. The Washington BlueGreen Alliance will be back next year to get Buy Clean and Buy Fair across the finish line.
Accelerating the transition to 100% clean electricity
The success of Washington’s transition to 100% clean electricity hinges on a robust, highly skilled workforce. The Washington BlueGreen Alliance coalition supported several bills, including the Climate-Ready Communities Act—2SHB 1176. The bill’s passage is an exciting move forward. In addition to creating the Washington Climate Corps, the bill requires the Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board to report on the job impacts of Washington’s low-carbon transition every two years. These comprehensive assessments will help maximize opportunities for Washington’s existing workforce in emerging sectors by facilitating skills-matching. They will also enable unions and other training entities to update existing programs with an eye to the future in order to prevent workforce shortages and, equally critical, workforce surpluses that drive down job quality. The BlueGreen Alliance also supported ESSB 5320, which grows the supply of certified electricians by broadening who can sit for Washington’s licensing exam.
The coalition also supported the Washington State Legislature to take further steps to ensure that everyone can pursue a clean energy construction career and that workers are safe on the job. 2SHB 1525 assists women and people with lower incomes to complete a registered apprenticeship by providing first-year apprentices access to Working Connections, Washington’s subsidized child care program.
HB 1058 addresses the state’s severe shortage of high-voltage line workers and promotes equitable access by streamlining the process for obtaining a Commercial Driver License. A Commercial Drivers License is required to become a journey lineperson and work on transmission lines. The high cost of obtaining the license can be a major barrier for people with lower incomes. The bill helps minimize barriers for workers to get their CDL.
Lastly, HB 1542 requires utilities to provide a portable automatic defibrillator to all high-voltage work crews with two or more people headed to a remote job site. This life-saving equipment will help keep workers in this high-risk field safe as they build and maintain the low-carbon electric grid of our future.
Ensuring Washington communities are resilient to the impacts of climate change and the low-carbon transition
Washington cannot turn a blind eye to how the transition away from fossil fuels impacts workers and communities. Here in Washington, refineries are on the frontline. The BlueGreen Alliance supported inclusion of 2023-2025 operating budget funds to take a hard look at how reduced demand for petroleum fuels will impact Washington’s five oil refineries and what that means for neighboring communities. This is a nuanced question driven as much, if not more, by policies adopted outside Washington and requires careful market analysis. An accurate and shared understanding of the timeline for the state’s refineries’ potential direct and indirect employment changes and impacts to the local tax base is required before discussion of how to mitigate and plan for those impacts.
Net Zero by 2050. Washington updated its climate limits in 2020 to bring them in line with current science and put the state on a path toward net-zero emissions by 2050. The legislature was explicit that Washington intends to pursue its climate limits in a way that maintains our state’s manufacturing base and prevents the leakage of both jobs and pollution.”
Clean Manufacturing Leadership. The governor signed the Washington Clean Manufacturing Bill into law on May 4, 2023, making strides toward transforming the state's manufacturing base. The law directs the Washington State Department of Commerce to develop a statewide industrial strategy and funds dedicated capacity at Commerce to track, promote, and secure federal funding for manufacturing. This will allow Washington to fully leverage the federal government’s unprecedented $9 billion investment in decarbonizing and revitalizing domestic manufacturing.
Climate-Ready Communities. The Climate-Ready Communities Act, signed into law on May 3, 2023, directed the establishment of the Washington Climate Corps. This group is tasked with reporting the job impacts from energy transition in the state. These comprehensive assessments will help maximize opportunities for Washington’s existing workforce in emerging sectors by facilitating skills-matching. Unions and training entities can better track worforce shortages and surpluses that drive down job quality with this information and adjust their programs accordingly.