Climate Jobs, a nationwide coalition of unions and environmental advocates, organized the “Ambition to Action” workshop for union members interested in learning about the effects of climate change, potential work opportunities in electrification and renewable energy, and why and how it can be done with organized labor at the forefront. The workshop took place at 5:00-6:30 p.m. on Thursday, September 22, in person and virtually, so union members across the country participated simultaneously.
In New York City, two locations hosted in-person workshops, one of which was the Electrical Industry Training Center in Long Island City, Queens. A few dozen apprentices and journeypersons from Local 3 and members of Steamfitters Local 638 attended the in-person session, which included breakout groups, guest speakers, and presentations on the science and economics of climate change. At the same time, workshops were held by Climate Jobs affiliates in Rhode Island, Maine, and Illinois. Guest speakers were Justin Kelley from Local 195 of the Rhode Island Allied & Printing Trades and John Sigren from the Houston Federation of Teachers.
At the Training Center, the workshop was facilitated by Climate Jobs’ Long Island Regional Director Mariah Dignan and Education and Cultural Trust Fund Director Michael Yee and Associate Director Erland Castillo. To conclude the workshop, the video of Business Manager Christopher Erikson — a self-described “climate warrior” — speaking at the People’s Climate March in September 2014 was shown to the class.
It was repeatedly noted that a large part of the work to be done is the electrification of buildings and transportation to lower carbon emissions, presenting a huge opportunity for Local 3 and IBEW members across the country. Local 3 members should look into taking courses offered by the E&C, such as GPRO, which is advised by the Urban Green Council.