The economy is in big trouble in the nation, the world, and in New Jersey. Home foreclosures, bank failures, rising gas and food prices, rising job loss, plant closings and layoffs of workers in manufacturing, construction, health care, finance, and government all show that our economy is failing the great majority of people.
We also confront a growing climate crisis that demands us to invest in cleaner sources of power, such as wind and solar, and to use electricity and fuels more efficiently to cut global warming pollution. Moreover, we are dependent on toxic chemicals that damage our environment and our health; we should be relying on sustainable, “green chemicals” that provide essential products without harm.
New Jersey can potentially create thousands of “green jobs” through retrofitting buildings, expanding mass transit and freight rail, constructing smart energy grids, and expanding production of wind power, solar power, and advanced biofuels. Building more schools and cleaning up our toxic waste sites can provide many jobs. Also, we can transition our state’s chemical industry, which still provides employment to more than 70,000 workers, to safely produced substances while “greening” these vital jobs.
Creating and maintaining these green jobs requires huge investments by our federal and state governments and by corporations. With this investment comes responsibility. Green jobs must offer family-supporting wages and benefits in a safe work environment. They must offer employment opportunities and career advancement for local residents — only union jobs can ensure good, green jobs and pathways out of poverty.
- WEC is New Jersey’s leading voice for collaboration between labor and environmentalists and for “safe, secure jobs and a healthy, sustainable environment.” Since 1986, in the media and in the State House, WEC has debunked corporate propaganda claiming that good jobs and strong environmental regulation are incompatible.
- With the BlueGreen Alliance, Sierra Club, Environment-NJ, Green for All, Working America, and other partners in the Green Jobs for America Campaign, WEC released a report showing how a “green recovery program” could create more than 57,000 jobs in New Jersey.
- With the United Steelworker’s Tony Mazzocchi Center for Health, Safety, and Environmental Education and the Labor Institute, WEC piloted the nation’s first training program for chemical workers to debate the challenges and opportunities for sustainable jobs in the green chemical industry.
- With labor and environmental allies, WEC has demanded that chemical industry executives and regulation by the NJ Department of Environmental Protection stop the downsizing of staff, which cuts preventive maintenance and increases dangers to workers and neighbors.
- WEC has consistently argued for a Just Transition. New Jersey – and the nation – requires policies to protect the living standards of those workers who could lose their jobs when government decides to phase out a toxic chemical or take other actions to protect the environment. To WEC, Just Transition is not rhetoric. It means a specific policy that displaced workers should receive replacement income, comparable health and other benefits, and meaningful educational opportunities for four years.
Green Recovery: A Program to Create Good Jobs and Start Building a Low-Carbon Economy
The report, commissioned by the Center for American Progress, authored by the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts, and released with Green Jobs for America, outlined a rapid green recovery program that would create four times more jobs than the same investment in oil by investing in six renewable energy and energy efficiency strategies. Released September 2008.
- BlueGreen Alliance
An alliance of the Sierra Club, United Steelworkers, Natural Resource Defense Council, and Communications Workers of America.
- Green for All
A national organization dedicated to building an inclusive green economy strong enough to lift people out of poverty.
- The Alliance for Climate Protection
The Alliance for Climate Protection (AKA) The Climate Reality Project has taken the lead in reframing and driving the climate change narrative in the U.S. and around the world. It is a nonprofit, nonpartisan effort founded by Nobel laureate and former Vice President Al Gore.
- Renewable Energy Project
REPP’s goal is to accelerate the use of renewable energy by providing credible information, insightful policy analysis, and innovative strategies.