What’s union, green and read all over?

There’s been a flurry of activity from the US national union confederation AFL-CIO, as it fleshes out its green jobs activities. And you can find out all about it in regular online briefings.

The National Labor College (NLC) and the AFL-CIO’s Center for Green Jobs have launched a monthly online Green Labor Journal to outline issues of sustainability, energy use and climate change from a union perspective.

It says the journal will showcase union green initiatives and provide up-to-date information on new developments in green policy, technology and work processes.

A report in the AFL-CIO’s blog says the journal will emphasise that green jobs must pay decent wages and benefits so workers can sustain themselves and their families. All green policy initiatives also must include fair labour standards.

The online journal also will highlight the important role of unions in environmental debates.

Issue 1 includes details of NLC’s Green Workplace Representative Certificate Program. It says: “Based upon the model of the British Trade Union Congress’s (TUC) Union Green Representative program, the NLC curriculum will provide working people with a practical guide for conducting a workplace audit, organizing a ‘greening committee’ in every workplace, and working with management to make the positive changes necessary to achieve sustainability.”

TUC publishes a regular online Green Workplaces News.

Writing in the first issue of the Green Labor Journal, NLC’s Tom Kriger notes: “Research shows that sustainable workplaces are more productive workplaces.  Thus a further goal of this program is to build cooperative labor-management partnerships so workplaces become safer and more productive, enhance the competitiveness of American firms in the global economy, and contribute to the health of the planet. 

“Based in part upon the role of the health and safety committees that the labor movement pioneered in many workplaces, a workplace “greening committee” would provide the appropriate forum for discussing the results of workplace audits and negotiating steps to address issues identified in the audits.”

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