Unions are all in for People’s Climate March, April 29

Unions are all in for People_s Climate March, April 29
Over 40,000 people took place in the 2014 climate march in New York City. Natural Resources Defense Council photo

By Larry Rubin

On April 29, the 100th day of the Trump regime, hundreds of thousands of people are expected to attend the People’s March for Climate, Jobs and Justice in Washington, D.C., and sister marches in cities across the country. To learn about a march near you, click here.

The rallies will protest Trump’s executive orders and other actions aimed at dismantling environmental protections put in place during the Obama administration. For example, Trump recently issued an executive order charging the Environmental Protection Agency with unwinding the Obama Administration’s rule for reducing hazardous carbon dioxide emissions generated by the nation’s power sector. The order also ends the moratorium on new and modified coal leasing on public land.

Essentially, said Leslie Cagan of the People’s Climate Movement – NY, “the order erases efforts to clean up the nation’s aging coal- and gas-fired power plants that accounted for approximately 40 percent of the carbon dioxide emissions produced in the U.S. Carbon dioxide emissions are the lead cause of global warming.”

“The imperative to stop the Trump agenda could not be clearer as he destroys the EPA and subverts the United States’ commitment to the Paris Agreement and puts Exxon in charge of the State Department,” said Cagan.

Unions have taken the lead in organizing the march, including the Service Employees International Union, the Amalgamated Transit Union, the American Federation of Teachers, the American Postal Workers Union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the Communications Workers of America and the Labor Network for Sustainability.

SEIU Local 888 issued a press release saying, “Working families disproportionately experience high pollution levels by being exposed to environmental hazards both at home and at work. The toll of environmental injustice is a reality for far too many. That’s why SEIU Local 888 is urging members to join the People’s Climate March on April 29, 2017.”

Jon Foster, founder of AFSCME District Council 37’s Climate Justice Committee said, “It is imperative that labor unions be involved in the fight against climate change and the drive to promote environmental justice and to create good union jobs. “We must also lead the fight for a just transition for displaced workers as we fight for a just and clean energy economy,” he added.

“In addition to protecting the environment and creating jobs, what we do today will save the lives of children and grandchildren,” Foster concluded.

Along with unions, sponsoring the march are over 700 organizations, including environmental protection groups such as the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council; faith-based organizations such as the Interfaith Moral Action on Climate and many synagogues, churches and mosques; civil rights groups such as the NAACP; and progressive organizations and parties such as Public Citizen, People’s Action, the Green Party, the Working Families Party, and the Communist Party USA.

“The climate crisis is an outcome of the long-term disinvestment of low-income communities and low-income communities of color,” said Rae Breaux, lead climate justice organizer for the People’s Action Institute. “President Trump’s first 100 days is a clear sign that he will fast-track profits for corporations before he invests in the needs of the American people.

“Now is the time to come together and build an economy where investments are made to benefit workers, communities of color and low-income folks – an economy that is structured to reflect the fact that black, brown and indigenous lives matter,” she said.

The People’s Climate March was initiated by the People’s Climate Movement (PCM), which grew out of the largest climate march in U.S. history, held in New York City in September of 2014.

According to a statement released by PCM, that march created “a groundbreaking coalition of green and environmental justice groups, labor unions, faith, students, indigenous peoples and civil rights groups working to advance a climate agenda rooted in economic and racial justice.” PCM has been working to save environmental protections since the first day of the Trump administration.

Its statement concludes, “With the 100 days of action and the April march, this coalition will leverage its power once again, to resist the Trump administration and corporate leaders’ efforts to thwart or reverse progress towards a more just America.

“Now more than ever, it will take everyone to change everything. So, the People’s Climate Movement is calling on everyone to join in resisting Trump, his crooked administration and the one percent who are running our country.”

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