BGA Plan Announces Plan to Reduce Economic Inequality and Climate Change

By Kathleen Mackey
USW Intern

United Steelworkers (USW) International President Leo W. Gerard and allies from the BlueGreen Alliance (BGA) this week introduced Solidarity for Climate Action, a comprehensive plan to simultaneously tackle economic inequality and climate change.

“To build a better future for all Americans, we have to have a plan to fight climate change that works for everyone, and this is it. This isn’t going to be easy, but it is necessary to secure the future of our nation and planet,” Mike Williams, BGA Interim Co-Executive Director, said at a press conference Monday at the USW International Headquarters in Pittsburgh. “We urge leaders from across the country to embrace this platform, and we look forward to working with them to build a stronger, fairer, cleaner economy that works for all Americans.”

BGA unites America’s largest labor unions and its most influential environmental organizations to address climate change while creating high-quality jobs and a strong and balanced economy.

“It is critical that working people are front and center as we create a new economy: one that values our work, our families, our communities, and our environment,” the Solidarity for Climate Action plan states.

“This is the strongest piece of solidarity that people said couldn’t happen, and it is going to give us a much stronger voice at the municipal, the state and federal level.” Gerard said.

In the document, which was two years in the making, BGA outlines five major goals to address climate change and economic inequality.

Accomplishing the objectives would reduce greenhouse gas emissions to Net Zero by 2050, a level that would eliminate the most detrimental impacts of climate change. Secondly, the intent is to increase union density nationwide. Under the plan, the United States would also rebuild and modernize its infrastructure in ways that would reduce energy use and increase jobs. In addition, the plan is for the United States to reclaim leadership in the global economy in the areas of clean technology innovation, deployment, manufacturing and good job creation. The final goal is to foster safe and healthy workplaces that are free of hazardous chemicals and toxic pollution.

Collin O’Mara, President and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation said that, while goals and aspirations are important, it’s imperative that the United States enact policies that will elevate and push them forward – which is the purpose of this program.

“We will work with our allies to transform this powerful platform into action across the country,” O’Mara said.

Sam Williamson, the Western Pennsylvania District Director for Service Employees International Union (SEIU) 32BJ, said workers are affected by the detrimental effects of both climate change and income inequality every day, in all parts of the country. He added that implementing Solidarity for Climate Action would build a future that would make all Americans proud. ­

When it comes to fostering economic security and a healthy living environment, Gerard said, “We’ll have both or we’ll have neither.” This document offers steps to ensure both.


Posted In: Union Matters