TRADE UNION CLIMATE SUMMIT
June 29 - New York
Nine months after the People’s Climate March brought hundreds of thousands of people—including an unprecedented number of union members—to the streets of New York City, more than 75 trade union leaders from the United States and twelve other countries will convene here on June 29 for a Trade Union Climate Summit followed by a three-day Trade Unions for Energy Democracy (TUED) working retreat.
The Trade Union Climate Summit will build on the momentum generated by the People’s Climate March. In December 2015, the UN will host “last chance” climate talks in Paris. The chances for an effective agreement seem slim, but the climate movement is gearing up for a major people’s mobilization to demand meaningful action. What programs and strategies can the international trade union movement adopt to confront the climate and energy emergency? In Greece, Spain, and elsewhere in Europe, unions are linking climate protection to their struggles against austerity and inequality. Labor leaders from the global South and North are calling for a bold and transformative trade union program to address the social and ecological crisis, and in the carbon battlegrounds of the United States and Canada, important voices within the labor movement are joining with other social movements to resist the oil, gas, and coal industries’ extreme energy agenda and to build a new mass movement for an energy system–and a society–that is truly sustainable, just, and democratic.
The TUED working retreat will bring together longtime participants in this initiative as well as new members to assess the progress so far and set the agenda for the coming months. Since 2012, TUED has been building a global, multi-sector community of labor leaders dedicated to advancing democratic direction and control of energy in a way that promotes solutions to the climate crisis, energy poverty, and the degradation of both land and people and that responds to attacks on workers’ rights and protections.
One of TUED’s accomplishments has been a sharpening and refinement of what “energy democracy” can mean to the labor movement. TUED’s newest publication, “Power to the People: Toward Democratic Control of Electricity Generation,” provides and in-depth, concrete analysis of where we are at and where we can go in the struggle for energy democracy. This detailed and clear-eyed document provides the starting point for the discussions that will take place at the summit and retreat.
Organized by the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung–New York Office; the International Program on Labor, Climate, and Environment at the Murphy Institute, CUNY; and 32BJ SEIU, the Trade Union Climate Summit and TUED working retreat are bringing together labor leaders from Argentina, Brazil, Canada, France, Greece, India, Italy, Korea, Norway, Peru, the Philippines, Spain, and the United States to further develop a progressive trade union climate protection agenda.
Between the late 1940s and the 1990s, movements for independence, decolonization, and Black Power emerged and flourished. While these movements altered the terrain of the global south, they had a profound echo effect on the culture, politics, and artistic expression of the global north. In Europe, support committees for Black political prisoners, anti-Apartheid actions as well as the Black Panthers provided “hot flashes” during the Cold War. Across social......
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