From September 20-26, Climate Week returned to New York City with special events focused on addressing climate change and growing the renewable energy sector in a sustainable, worker-centered way.
On Tuesday, Climate Jobs NY hosted the annual Climate Jobs Summit, where union members, labor leaders, policymakers, scientists, and climate justice activists came together to exchange ideas, success stories, campaigns, and upcoming opportunities. Guest speakers included U.S. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh and AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler, and panels throughout the day featured union members, elected officials, and signatory contractors who are working toward energy efficiency and emissions reduction goals in our schools, workplaces, and communities. New York and Illinois, for example, have recently enacted the most ambitious state-level energy and labor standards.
Also taking place on Tuesday, the ALIGN coalition of labor and community organizations hosted the 2021 Movement Builders Awards at the Electrical Industry Training Center in Long Island City, Queens. This year’s honorees were RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum, Assemblywoman Karines Reyes, Senator Michael Gianaris, and Dr. Lara Skinner of the Cornell ILR Worker Insitute’s Labor Leading on Climate Initiative. Watch a video shown at the event here.
On Thursday, Governor Kathy Hochul allocated $59 billion to the statewide Clean Green Schools Initiative overseen by NYSERDA. This will fund renovations at 500 public school buildings in the state’s most disadvantaged districts, reducing carbon emissions while improving air quality for students, faculty, and staff. Both coalitions, Climate Jobs NY and ALIGN, are leading campaigns on this front in New York City, the nation’s largest school district. In Washington, D.C., Congress is deliberating on the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which will invest more than $1 trillion over the next 10 years in climate change mitigation, electrification of vehicles from cars to buses, and improvements to roadways, broadband, and transit. Tell Congress to act now!