To the leaders of the American labor movement:
Working people, poor people, and frontline communities are most heavily impacted by the effects of climate change. We feel the force of this devastation first and worst—from more powerful hurricanes to wildfires, from rising sea levels to crop-destroying droughts and floods. Our families and communities receive the greatest blow and have the biggest stake in moving as rapidly as possible from a fossil fuel-based society to a sustainable energy society.Global warming represents an existential threat to the world’s people. We must act rapidly to avoid even more devastating climate change. But moving to 100% renewable energy will also impact jobs for many of us. So any transition, to be just, must protect workers and frontline communities impacted by the changes we must make from having to disproportionately bear rather than share the social cost.Organized labor with its allies is the strongest, best-organized force to turn this around. Who will speak for the global majority of working people and poor people if organized labor does not?The Earth is our only home. There is no Planet B. And there are no jobs on a dead planet.
As union members and families of union members, we call on you to take the lead in backing policies that call for:(1) A rapid transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy; (2) Massive rebuilding of our energy, transport, and other infrastructure in support of that transformation; and(3) A just transition for workers and communities directly affected by climate change and the transition to renewable energy – including income support, retraining, retirement security, and the creation of quality living-wage union-protected jobs in infrastructure, energy efficiency, and clean energy.
Future generations will ask what the labor movement did to respond to, slow and mitigate the worst effects of climate change. We urge you to take bold action to address the climate crisis with solutions that protect our planet and our people. You will have my full backing for these policies and the backing of millions of working Americans who are looking for your leadership at this critical moment.
The actions we take today will determine the world that our children, grandchildren, and future generations will inhabit tomorrow and for centuries to come. Let’s act decisively now to improve rather than imperil their lives.