Blog & News
Are green jobs good jobs? Two years ago, everyone thought so. Home weatherization was going to create thousands of jobs. We could pull ourselves out of the recession, cut our energy bills, and save the climate. It was a win-win-win.
Then reality set in. Weatherization today is a low-road industry. Profit margins are low. Small contractors fight each other for the work. Pay is low, training is minimal, safety is often ignored, and labor laws are frequently violated.
But the hard work of the Green Justice Coalition has been changing that reality. In Massachusetts, after a two-year campaign, the Green Justice Coalition – which brings together building trades unions, community and environmental organizations –recently signed breakthrough agreements with the leading weatherization vendor and utility company in the state.
This month, CASE is kicking off Phoenix Rising 2011, a campaign to change the political culture of the nation's 6th largest city by increasing the participation of working families--particularly Latino families--in this year's municipal elections and by fighting for a more just and sustainable jobs policy in the city of Phoenix. We believe these victories are necessary steps to raising living standards for working people throughout our state and to fighting back the attack on working families nation wide. The campaign launch includes:
Together, the Partnership for Working Families is building the next generation of leaders in our cities, leading change from the ground up.
That is exactly what is taking place in Denver.
You can see the power our movement has built in the recent results of the Denver municipal elections. FRESC and our allies will have four champions on City Council. Last month, Denver voters elected FRESC Program Director and Staff Attorney Robin Kniech as City Councilwoman At- Large, making her the first out LGBT elected official to serve in city government. On June 7th, in a run-off election District 1 voters elected Susan Shepherd, former Denver Area Labor Federation Political Director, to represent them. They both join former FRESC Executive Director and current City Council President Chris Nevitt and former union organizer Paul Lopez on Council. With these champions and several other allies on Council, we anticipate a majority on our 13 seat City Council. In addition, Mayor-elect Michael Hancock attended FRESC’s candidate forum and signed our pledge to prioritize good jobs and strong communities if elected mayor.
While the national health reform debate rages on, a local program to cover the uninsured is now underway in Santa Clara County, California. On March 1, Working Partnerships USA, in partnership with the Santa Clara Family Health Plan and the Santa Clara Valley Health and Hospital System launched a new health care program for low-wage workers in small businesses called Healthy Workers. The program was developed by the same coalition that created the nation’s first universal health care program for children—the Children’s Health Initiative.
A recently released LAANE study found that the Century Corridor hotel living wage ordinance, combined with the successful negotiation of collective bargaining agreements at four LAX-adjacent hotels, will produce $23.9 million in economic benefits. In 2006, a coalition of community members, workers and clergy leaders joined together as the Coalition for a New Century in an effort to transform thousands of low-wage hotel jobs into family-sustaining jobs and to upgrade a lackluster L.A. tourism district that is often the first glimpse visitors have of the region.
While the recession in Colorado seems to be on the mend, the state still faces job loss: Colorado's job shortfall was estimated by the Economic Policy Institute to be 195,191 jobs in November 2009. As promoting the creation of good jobs has long been central to FRESC's mission, the current recession and recovery efforts provide unique challenges and opportunities for our work.
The national spotlight is on the Coalition for Clean and Safe Ports' efforts to transform the broken port trucking system. On both coasts our partners have been key players in the fight to end the environmental degradation, health hazards and worker exploitation created by the port trucking industry.
On October 20, 2009, the San Jose City Council approved two policies that together constitute one of the most comprehensive frameworks in the nation for controlling the outsourcing of local government functions and services to private contractors.
According to a recent survey, a majority of residents living in neighborhoods bordering the Port of Seattle believe trucks and other Port of Seattle operations are making them ill. As part of the Washington Coalition for Clean and Safe Ports, Puget Sound Sage conducted a door-to-door health survey over the course of the summer in the neighborhoods that border the Port of Seattle—Georgetown and South Park. On October 7, Sage reported back to the community and media concerning the findings of the survey. The data showed:
by David West, Puget Sound Sage
Puget Sound Sage’s year-long green jobs campaign reached two milestones today: