The UE General Executive Board, meeting in Pittsburgh from June 5-8, 2018, adopted the following statement calling for support of the OFF Act, HR 3671, and the Clean Energy Worker Just Transition Act.
In 2017 the UE National Convention passed a resolution which:
- Actively urges the environmental movement to incorporate just transition into their platforms, and to push for solutions that curb the power of corporations rather than create market incentives;
- Demands that all environmental policies, including those targeting climate change, incorporate just transition for workers and communities affected;
- Seeks renewable alternatives to environmentally-destructive methods of energy production and distribution;
- Supports legislation mandating massive investments by state and federal governments and U.S. businesses to convert to a clean-energy economy and create millions of good jobs in the process;
- Reaffirms the solution UE proposed to the energy crisis in the 1970s: public ownership of the energy industry in order to end price gouging and preserve our environment.
Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii has introduced the Off Fossil Fuels for a Better Future (OFF) Act, HR 3671. This legislation contains the basic components of the above UE resolution and, in addition, calls for clear timelines for a just transition of our nation to renewable energy (80% by 2027 and 100% by 2035) while protecting affected workers and communities. It addresses our concerns on wage and benefit protection and job training for workers in the fossil fuel industry, as well as provides clear pathways for renewable energy workers to exercise their right to join and organize a union. It addresses the historic exclusion of communities of color, indigenous communities, and low-income communities in the development and oversight of energy policy.
It does not, however, address the critical need for energy production and distribution to be in the hands of our communities through public ownership in order that this critical industry will be governed for the benefit of people – not profit. We encourage inclusion of these concepts into this legislation and any other legislation dealing with the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy.
The UE General Executive Board endorses HR 3167 and the similar Senate legislation, the Clean Energy Worker Just Transition Act, of Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.), Jeff Merkley (Ore.), and Edward Markey (Mass.) and encourages UE locals and members to contact their representatives to secure their support and to sign on to these congressional bills.