Posts Tagged ‘Green Jobs’

Labor-management partnerships: The seeds of success in the green economy

Abigail Paris serves as Program Assistant for the Socially Responsible Business Program.

Flambeau River PapersToday is Earth Day—a day to reflect on the importance and value of the natural environment.  Started more than 40 years ago in the United States, Earth Day is now celebrated in over 175 countries. It also serves as a time to take note of year-round environmental stewardship. In the 2010 edition of our annual Labor Day List: Partnerships that Work, we did just that.

The eight businesses featured in the report are leaders in the green industry, in terms of both environmental sustainability and labor-management partnerships. Litecontrol manufactured the first architectural lighting systems to be Cradle to Cradle™ certified. Gerding Edlen Development led the first LEED-Platinum certified renovation of a building on the National Register of Historic Places. McGough Construction built the first office building in Minnesota to be certified LEED Platinum. Flambeau River Papers will be the first pulp and paper mill in North America to go fossil fuel free by using a biofuel plant that turns wood byproducts into green diesel fuel to power the mills.

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Green jobs must be good jobs

There’s a lot of hype about “going green.” But we must ensure that as we pursue alternative energy and sustainability we are protecting our greatest resource: America’s workers.

This year’s Good Jobs Green Jobs National Conference explored ways to incorporate workers’ rights into green initiatives. At the conference, American Rights at Work hosted two panels, highlighting employee protection within the agriculture and construction industries.

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Going, going…GREEN!

Kara Kahley is American Rights at Work’s Fall 2010 Socially Responsible Business Intern

No one can deny the environmentally-conscious trend taking hold in the U.S. In addition to the catchy ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’ rallying cry, our national vocabulary now includes words like ‘all-natural,’ ‘sustainable,’ and ‘eco-friendly.’ It’s safe to say that for most Americans, green stands for something more than a color.

And for the past half decade or so, not only has our language has gone green, our culture has too. Kermit the Frog is selling hybrid cars, reusable bags have made themselves a fashion category (I never leave home without my canvas “Recycling Rockstar” tote), and we can even make our own green “go green” through responsible investing options.

The opportunity for creating new jobs as a result of this sustaining (pun totally intended) trend is enormous. With unemployment still lingering near ten percent, that’s a really important piece of the puzzle. Luckily, green-collar jobs are gaining ground and are now officially recognized by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

So what exactly is a green jobRead more »


You say tomato, I say awesome. Sign our Thank You card!

Eurofresh logoIn this year’s Labor Day List, American Rights at Work highlighted the amazing labor-management collaboration at Eurofresh, an Arizona company that produces some of the nation’s tastiest tomatoes.

Eurofresh grows their produce in greenhouses, which keeps workers from having to toil in the hot sun. And their vegetables are pesticide-free, so workers and consumers are safe from toxic chemicals. Even better, Eurofresh managers actually respect the workers’ rights, health, and their union!

“Thanks to our employees and the union we have a good quality product that is safe,” said Robert Pulido, vice president for human resources at Eurofresh. “It’s a group effort.”

So why not take a second today to thank Eurofresh and its workers for providing good, green jobs and making consumer safety a priority?  Sign our Thank You card here! We’ll deliver your comments to the company’s management and its union.


Shining a light on Sharp Solar

Down in Memphis, Tennessee, Sharp Solar and its 385 union workers are bringing good manufacturing jobs back to the United States, all while providing residential, commercial, and utility customers access to clean energy. The company assembles solar panels with the partnership of its skilled employees and their union, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). Read more »


McGough Construction: An unshakable foundation in workers’ rights and sustainability

A recognized leader in sustainable construction and labor-management relations, McGough Construction is the company behind some of the most iconic structures gracing the Twin Cities skyline.

In addition to original projects like the LEED-Platinum-certified headquarters of Great River Energy, the company specializes in ‘greening’ existing buildings—providing resources and maximizing efficiency for clients who want to improve sustainability or pursue green building certifications.

And the company’s dedication to sustainability goes beyond green buildings. Read more »


Litecontrol: A beacon of business-savvy and forward-thinking policy

At a time when all too many companies are cutting corners for short-term gain, Litecontrol is illuminating the path to a sustainable future. With a commitment to cooperation, innovation, and its employees, the Hanson, Massachusetts-based company has made a name for itself in the architectural lighting industry, and in our 2010 Labor Day List. You can read the company’s full profile here.

Fully employee-owned since 2007, Litecontrol produces energy-efficient lighting systems for office buildings, schools, hospitals, and libraries. Through an Employee Stock Option Plan and membership in their union, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), Litecontrol workers have both a financial stake in the company and a voice on the job—not to mention fair wages, healthcare benefits, and retirement security. Read more »


Golden Solar: A specialty electrical contractor with workers’ rights at its core

Golden Solar LogoWhen Colorado passed groundbreaking renewable energy legislation in 2004, Shawn Josserand saw an opportunity. The voter-initiated policy mandated utilities to begin generating electricity from renewable sources, and empowered homeowners and businesses to generate their own electricity—in effect, creating a modern day “clean energy gold rush”.

As a master electrician and longtime member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), Josserand combined old fashioned entrepreneurship with progressive views about labor relations to make installing renewable energy sources easy and efficient for all Coloradans. Based in Golden, Colorado, Josserand’s business—Golden Solar—installs solar panels for residential and commercial clients using 100-percent union labor. The company handles all phases of design and installation, and has quickly earned a reputation for exceptional quality, outstanding customer service, and high standards. Read more »


Gerding Edlen: Harnessing union know-how to go a “deeper shade” of green

With more LEED-certified green buildings than any other private development firm in the country, there’s no question that Gerding Edlen Development is a pioneer in the green building industry. Based in Portland, OR, the company is responsible for the first LEED-Platinum certified renovation of a building on the National Register of Historic Places, and is moving beyond current standards to develop projects with zero net carbon emissions.

How do they do it? As CEO Mark Edlen will tell you, the key is the company’s strong partnership with its highly-trained, union workforce:

Union workers bring the skill set, creativity, and workplace safety the company needs to execute such complex projects: that’s why Gerding Edlen uses union labor. Read more »


Flambeau River Papers writes a new chapter in history of U.S. paper industry

When the soaring price of natural gas drove Smart Papers Mill into bankruptcy in 2006, the people of Park Falls, Wisconsin were faced with the loss of 300 local jobs. In a city with less than 3,000 residents, that job loss would have done major, if not irreparable, damage to the community.

Luckily for Park Falls, entrepreneur Butch Johnson stepped in to make sure that mill’s former employees weren’t left out in the cold. Johnson rehired nearly all of the mill’s workers, saving hundreds of other local jobs in the process. And he didn’t just give the mill’s employees their jobs back—he honored their existing union contract, including pay, benefits, and seniority. For their part, those union employees brought their knowledge of the paper industry to the table, and Johnson considers his employees’ union, United Steelworkers Local 2-0445,  “an integral part of the success of the company.” Read more »