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Unions Making a Difference for the Environment

Unions help create healthy, sustainable communities which protect workers, the public, and the natural world. Unions:

Partner with environmental groups to protect workers, the environment and the community.

  • Over 20 unions have endorsed the Apollo Alliance, which brings together leaders from business, labor, environmental, and local communities to support clean energy and investment in green-collar jobs.
  • Local and national labor organizations have joined with environmental, faith-based, community, and public health organizations in the Coalition for Clean & Safe Ports. The Coalition works to reduce pollution, improve efficiency, strengthen security, and promote workers’ rights at the Los Angeles and Long Beach Ports.

Hold corporations accountable for pollution that damages worker and community health, as well as the natural environment. As leaders of the Blue Green Alliance, the United Steelworkers and Sierra Club not only support green-collar jobs and fair trade, but work to reduce toxic chemicals in the workplace and the environment. The Blue Green Alliance:

Alert the public to environmental hazards that might otherwise stay hidden. At a DuPont plant in Niagara Falls, NY, members of the Paper, Allied-Industrial, Chemical & Energy Workers (PACE) were instrumental in exposing environmental and safety hazards.1

Fight for federal regulations that protect workers and communities. In 2004, the Sierra Club and UNITE HERE supported stronger regulations for the laundry industry to protect both the community water supply and the workers who handle toxic chemicals.

Support increased fuel efficiency standards and production of hybrid vehicles.

Combat the spread of suburban sprawl, advocating instead for smart growth initiatives that call for reinvestment in our urban centers and public transportation systems.2

Use collective bargaining to reduce the environmental footprint of America’s workplaces. SEIU advocates use of green cleaning products, public transportation benefits, and daytime cleaning of buildings, which reduces energy costs as well as benefiting workers’ health.


1. E.I.Dupont de Nemours & Co, Inc. (Niagara Plant Employees Union and PACE Local 1-5025) Niagara Falls, NY, May 28, 2004, 3-CA-23449 et al, JD-47-04.
2. Good Jobs First, Labor Leaders as Smart Growth Advocates, Aug. 2003.

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