Climate Change and Labor

State labor leaders resolve: a just transition is key to aligning strong climate action with broadly shared economic opportunity

Organized labor is becoming a leading voice for climate action in Washington State.  The Washington State Labor Council represents the official position of the AFL-CIO in the state, and plays a leading role in elevating the voice of working families in Washington policy and politics. At their 2015 annual convention, WSLC passed a Climate and Jobs Resolution that represents a critical milestone in the alignment of labor voices behind a just transition to a clean energy future. 

Even amidst significant conflicts over coal and oil infrastructure proposals in the state, labor unions are taking a more active and vocal role with local communities, conservation organizations, business and policy-makers in discussions of how the state can accelerate the clean energy transition.  The resolution vividly spells out the need for climate action, and the vital connections between climate protection, good jobs, economic justice, and increased opportunity for working families.

WSLC President Jeff Johnson has emerged as a vocal leader in state climate discussions, and joined a labor delegation to the Paris Climate Summit last December. “The Climate and Jobs resolution puts labor on the right side of history,” said Johnson. “This resolution points the way towards a comprehensive carbon reduction regime, using the best available science, and recognizes that the transition away from fossil fuels must always respect workers jobs and benefits and vulnerable communities most impacted by carbon pollution first. A truly equitable transition leaves no worker or community behind.”