The Green Locomotive Project will create good union jobs, address climate change, and clean up pollution in the low-income communities and communities of color which bear the brunt of pollution from rail yards. It will bring workers and their unions together with rail yard communities and environmental justice organizations to demand a future of good union jobs, livable communities, and a sustainable planet.
The project came about through conversation with members who build locomotive engines that currently run on diesel fuel. These members know their own jobs have been tied to fossil fuels but also understand the threat of climate change. They see opportunities for a different path in the future, one that creates good union jobs and improves air quality, particularly in and around rail yards where these idling engines pollute the air. The technology already exists to run cleaner and more energy-efficient engines on our rail lines; zero-emissions technology is available for use in rail yards.
By upgrading all of their locomotive stock to modern “Tier 4” standards for long-haul routes and to zero-emissions technologies in rail yards, the railroad companies could significantly reduce both the pollution around rail yards and their carbon footprint. Unfortunately, they have proved unwilling to do this. The Green Locomotive Project will build the worker and community power necessary to compel the railroads to upgrade their locomotive stock and adopt green technology, and to ensure that new technologies lead to jobs at existing union factories.
Green Locomotive Project in the News
The Green Locomotive Project was featured in a recent article in The American Prospect, “The Filthy Emissions of Railroad Locomotives—and the Rail Unions Sounding the Alarm.” For the article, journalist Sarah Lazare interviewed UE Local 1177 President Larry Hopkins, a rail crew driver who works in the rail yards of Chicago, Local 506 President Scott Slawson, whose local represents workers who build locomotives in Erie, PA, and UE General President Carl Rosen.