Sandra Brown McAuliffe and Britt Woods were recently in Washington, D.C. to attend the Good Jobs, Green Jobs National Conference. Their entries were unanimously chosen by our judges, AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Richard Trumka, United Steelworkers Vice President Fred Redmond, and Sierra Club political director Cathy Duvall.
Britt Woods and Sandra Brown McAuliffe were recently in Washington, D.C. to attend the Good Jobs, Green Jobs National Conference. Their entries were unanimously chosen by our judges, AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Richard Trumka, United Steelworkers Vice President Fred Redmond, and Sierra Club political director Cathy Duvall.
Here’s part of Britt’s answer to our question “Why do you want to fight for a green jobs economy and why are you the right person to represent Working America’s members at the Good Jobs, Green Jobs National Conference?”
As a resident of Northeast Ohio, I have witnessed firsthand what happens to individuals, families and communities when companies choose downsizing and outsourcing over sustainable growth and the collective good. I have seen too many forgotten and shrinking cities and towns, abandoned factories, empty downtowns and vacant houses. I have witnessed the many social ills that accompany unemployment and underemployment, and the creation of “green” jobs, in the spirit of FDR’s New Deal, is perhaps our only chance at recovery. American workers are capable of great things, and I see progress in how organized labor is adapting to an ever changing global and service oriented economy. As environmentalism becomes a part of our national dialogue and millions of Americans are modifying their everyday lifestyles to help the planet, it is time for larger changes in infrastructure to accompany small action.
As both an environmentalist and a friend of labor, I envision the building of parks and green public spaces, the exploration of alternative energy sources, the manufacturing and installation of solar panels and windmills, and more support for family farmers. I envision changes in the way we travel, through the building of community bike paths, the creation of regional high speed rail networks, and bio-fuel powered truck fleets. From the retrofitting of old buildings and automobiles, to the energy efficient building of new houses and cars, a green economy can provide a variety of jobs for American workers at all levels: White collar, blue collar, pink collar or green collar, the point is to lay the foundation for a sustainable economy consisting of jobs that are safe from outsourcing and downsizing.
If we are to overcome our current economic situation, then it will take a lot of hard work, dedication and innovation from ALL American workers. We are not fighting for white picket fences and three car garages anymore; we are fighting to make the rent and put food on the table. I want to be a part of this change. I want to help shape a country where working Americans, at the end of the day, can feel good about their jobs. I want to help create an economy that cares as much about clean air than it does quarterly profits. I have signed petitions and knocked on doors, but I am hungry to do more. I may just work at a grocery store, but the fight for green jobs is a collaborative effort that everyday, working adults must be vocal about. If the federal government invests in the creation of green jobs through infrastructure projects, job training programs and tax incentives, then it is essential that the financial rewards do not pad the pockets of CEO’s and shareholders, but rather grace the hands of hardworking families and working class communities.
Stay tuned for more reports from Britt and Sandra on their experiences at the conference!