Energy Green Jobs

Submitted by Robert Morales, Secretary-Treasurer on behalf of Teamsters Local Union No. 350

WHEREAS, Scientific evidence has confirmed that human use of fossil fuels is undisputedly contributing to global warming, causing rising sea levels, changes in climate patterns and threats to coastal areas; and

WHEREAS, The unemployment rate has hit history-making highs since 2008 and currently stands at nine percent; and

WHEREAS, A robust federal investment in the clean energy economy of the future has the potential to create millions of new jobs in renewable and clean energy production including: wind, solar, nuclear and clean coal; and

WHEREAS, Aiding a transition to more fuel-efficient rail and trucking technology, expanding high-speed passenger and cargo rail and mass-transit, retrofitting and building energy-efficient homes and public facilities, expanding recycling and sustainable warehousing, building wind and solar farms, and revamping the electrical grid are all “clean energy” solutions that will create new jobs, and increase the demand for existing Teamster jobs in industries like warehousing, freight, rail, construction, waste and recycling; and

WHEREAS, China and Germany lead the world in clean energy finance and investment and, in recent years, the United States has fallen from number one in clean energy finance and investment to number three; and

WHEREAS, Coal makes up 40% of the cargo transported by freight rail (1 in 4 revenue dollars) and it is estimated that 1 in 5 railroad jobs are generated by the coal industry and in some cases those jobs are tied to rail lines that are dedicated to coal transport, only without flexibility; and

WHEREAS, The environmental protection and advocacy community is a valued partner in the labor movement’s organizing and corporate responsibility campaigns and shares the labor movement’s commitment to furthering fair- trade policies; and

WHEREAS, Environmentally-friendly policies that maintain our planet’s health will also keep our country’s workforce safe and healthy. 

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that this 28th Convention of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters believes that it is right for the U.S. to address our dependence on fossil fuels and carbon emissions through balanced, comprehensive energy and climate change legislation; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that a balanced energy and climate change policy is one that maximizes job creation by investing in a wide variety of clean energy solutions, including nuclear energy and clean coal technology, and that clean energy or “green” jobs created through federal investment should be stable, career-track jobs that pay fair wages and allow for workers to freely organize and collectively bargain with their employers; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that a balanced energy and climate change policy is one that recognizes the vital role that coal plays in the U.S. economy and the necessity of investing in clean coal in order to meet our nation’s energy needs as we transition to a clean energy economy; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that a balanced energy and climate change policy should incentivize and invest in recycling over incineration as a more environmentally-friendly and labor-intensive way of addressing waste. Further, landfill-gas-to-energy technologies, which encourage waste incineration, should not be included in any legislative definition of “renewable” or “clean” energy; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that a comprehensive energy and climate policy should address our reliance on foreign oil supplies from countries often hostile to U.S. policies by responsibly expanding access to sources of domestic oil production including completion of the Keystone Pipeline which is expected to stimulate $20 billion in new spending for the U.S. economy, spur the creation of 118,000 jobs and generate more than $585 million in state and local taxes for the states along the pipeline route; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that absent a binding global emissions agreement which demands aggressive action in addressing carbon output from developing countries like China and India, a balanced energy and climate change policy must protect U.S. jobs with fair-trade safeguards that ensure U.S. competitiveness and prevent companies in energy-intensive industries from closing their U.S. facilities and moving to countries without comparable climate protection measures; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that a balanced energy and climate change policy is one that includes adequate supports to mitigate the financial burden of transition and compliance for energy-intensive, trade vulnerable industries like steel, coal, cement, concrete, paper, and petroleum; and

FINALLY, BE IT RESOLVED, that a balanced energy and climate change policy is one that protects against increases in household energy costs by providing a variety of mechanisms that offset the potential for rising energy and fuel costs to working-class Americans and provides easy access and financing to ensure rapid transition to higher-efficiency appliances and more energy-efficient homes and rental units.