FRESC: Making the Case for Good Green Jobs

September 30, 2009 -- FRESC

On May 27th, FRESC and the Campaign for Responsible Development (CRD) won community benefits at Union Station – a large mixed use redevelopment project located in downtown Denver that will be the hub of FasTracks, our metro area’s future mass transit rail build out estimated at a cost of around 500 million dollars.  After three years of organizing, coalition building, research and advocacy, the CRD formalized support of the project to the Denver City Council with a vote 12-1.  In addition to living wage provisions for public facilities workers, retail space for five locally owned small businesses, and an agreement to work toward low income rental housing, the CRD is also connecting good jobs to green standards at the Union Station site. 

The private developers of the Union Station project have agreed to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards on much of the development and set a target of 15% registered apprentice utilization and a commitment to train and upgrade women and people of color working on the project.  FRESC and the CRD applaud the connection of environmental sustainability with a commitment to worker training and investment.  As our region continues the build out of our mass transit rail system (FasTracks), we will continue to look for more opportunities to connect the greening of the system with good paying jobs that help working families to thrive. 

Separate from the Union Station project, FRESC is partnering with the Sierra Club and the Laborers to identify and promote opportunities to ensure that weatherization jobs are good paying jobs with career paths that create advancement for women and people of color. Early this summer, FRESC released a report, “The American Dream Denied? Low Wage Work in Metro Denver “ which finds that more than 1 in 4 workers in the metro area are in low-wage occupations that pay less than $13.01 an hour.  Moreover, Latinos and African-Americans are over-represented in many of the largest low-wage occupational categories with women earning even less than their male counterparts.  With so much public money (including millions from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act) creating jobs in weatherization, FRESC is promoting a new vision for jobs that pay family supporting wages with adequate training and advancement opportunities.