Fighting Climate Change
The union movement has rallied around the need for New York to lead the way in reducing greenhouse gas emissions so that we can begin the process of slowing down climate change and it’s devastating effects. As part of our effort, I was honored to be appointed to the Climate Leadership panel to ensure labor’s voice is heard as we implement the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA).
The CLCPA’s goals require reducing emissions levels to 40% below 1990 levels by 2030 and to 85% of those levels by 2050. The CLCPA also requires electricity generation to be zero emission by 2040. These goals and other aspects of the CLCPA will impact every sector in the state, our economy and daily life. They are so sweeping, it will take all of us working together to be successful.
New York State is already leading the way in addressing climate change but we must be mindful that this is a global fight and we will need to keep the resiliency, reliability, and affordability of the electricity grid front and center while ensuring New York’s economic competitiveness in every sector. This means before we shut down any plants, we must develop clean energy solutions and show that we can meet the state’s energy needs.
The development of clean energy solutions should include the decarbonization of public facilities and transportation fleets and we must incentivize and help the private sector to do the same. This should be done with worker protections for all public employees and with labor standards for all newly created jobs. Establishing utility scale geothermal networks this year at our state’s larger public campuses and facilities will be a priority for the New York State AFL-CIO in 2023. We are closely monitoring the Governor’s cap-and-invest proposal that will help create funding for the development of other clean energy solutions while phasing out older facilities. Further, labor standards, protecting trade impacted industries and funding for job training will be critical to the success of any cap-and-invest proposal.
Ensuring strong labor standards are included in the CLCPA is also a priority. We will be clear that prevailing rate and PLAs should apply to all CLCPA related construction, and we must incorporate labor peace agreements for the operation and maintenance of new facilities. Requiring community hire and community benefit agreements will ensure diversity in hiring and ensure hiring of people from communities that have disproportionately suffered the effects of pollution. Employees who are directly impacted by the changes must have guaranteed training and employment options in the new clean energy field and we need to ensure the supply chain is manufactured in the United States, preferably in New York.
These are lofty goals, but achievable when we work together.
Mario Cilento, President
LABOR LOBBYISTS MEETING
Monday, January 23, 2023, 1:00 p.m.
Senator Jessica Ramos, Chair of Committee on Labor will be the guest speaker.