CSEA SEIU Local 2001
SEIU Climate Newsletter
Updated On: Nov 30, 2021

CLIMATE, JOBS, JUSTICE

Edition 3

En Espanol

SEIU members and worker leaders in the Fight for $15 and a Union are confronted daily by the impacts of climate change and environmental injustice. This newsletter offers a snapshot of how we’re combating climate change and fighting against environmental injustice in our workplaces and communities as well as calling on major industries, corporations, and governments to protect the health, safety and long-term economic well-being of all working people across America.

House vote on Build Back Better makes a huge leap forward in addressing climate change

Working families have taken a  step forward in our fight to be respected, protected, and paid after the House passed H.R. 5376, the Build Back Better (BBB) Act of 2021 last week. The Build Back Better Act is a historic investment in-home care workers and care services, major progress on climate justice, essential protections for immigrants, and other meaningful investments for America’s working families. 

This legislation makes a critically needed down payment on the just and clean future we owe our children.These bold actions to combat climate change and pollution that are disproportionately impacting communities of color include measures to cut emissions by at least 50 percent by 2030; create hundreds of thousands of good union jobs with incentives to spur new domestic supply chains and technologies and; address toxic air and water pollution in disadvantaged communities.

Now the Build Back Better Act  heads to the U.S. Senate to get this to the finish line.  Read President Mary Kay Henry’s statement about what this transformative investment means to working people. Please share on Twitter and Facebook! Retweet President Henry here! 

Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act makes investments in addressing the climate crisis and environmental injustice

After an all-day session on November 5th that stretched into the early hours of November 6th, Congress passed the bi-partisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), along with the Rule for considering the Build Back Better Act (BBB). The IIJA makes $300 billion in important investments to combat climate change and pollution. These provisions include funding to replace more lead service lines and other clean water projects, climate resilience and adaptation for communities of color, energy efficiency programs and clean transportation. The Build Back Better Act which is now in the House and will move into the Senate includes an additional $550 billion in investments into climate change mitigation, resilience and environmental justice.

SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry said in a statement that the infrastructure bill is a major step forward toward passing President Biden’s full Build Back Better agenda, but more has to be done to deliver for working families. See how the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will impact your state here.

EPA study shows the many ways climate change impacts racial minorities the hardest.

People standing together one person in the front with a sign saying There Is no Planet B

According to a recent study by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), people of color in the US face the first and worst impacts of climate change, including loss of property and loss of life as a result of extreme heat and sea level rise. The study warns that if the planet warms 2 degrees Celsius Black people are 40 percent more likely than other groups to live in places where extreme temperatures will cause more deaths.

Read in The Washington Post.

DID YOU KNOW?

Climate change impacts immigration in the US.

Climate change is a key driver of immigration in our country. As extreme weather events like hurricanes, flooding and earthquakes add to economic and political instability in countries like Mexico, Haiti and Guatemala, millions of families are seeking to rebuild their lives in the United States.

Right now, the climate crisis is manifesting itself on the border. Families in Haiti, displaced by various crises, including the climate change crisis, look to the US for an opportunity to rebuild their lives.

It is even estimated that in 2017 24 million people were forcibly displaced as a result of extreme weather events: floods, droughts, fires and intensified storms. In 2020, that number increased to 30 million. A 2021 survey of Guatemalan migrants conducted by the International Organization for Migration found that one in five were fleeing from natural disasters and climate change.

With storms, like Hurricanes Harvey, Maria, and most recently Ida (65 billion in damages and over 100 lives lost) projected to continue to grow in intensity over the coming years, the growing need for a pathway to citizenship for millions of dreamers, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders and undocumented workers.

Highlights from the UN Climate Change Conference of Parties 26 (COP26)

President Biden pledged that the US will reduce carbon emission by 50 to 52 percent below 2005 levels by 2030 during the opening day of COP26. Joined by 120 heads of state, the President made a commitment to be a net-zero economy by 2050 while touting the Build Back Better Act. The legislative package, now being considered by Congress. makes a critically needed down payment on the just and clean future we owe our children. These investments include measures to cut emissions by 50 percent by 2030, create thousands of good union jobs and address toxic pollution in disadvantaged neighborhoods.

During the COP26, world leaders also gave support for the U.S.- and the EU-led Global Methane Pledge to take voluntary actions to contribute to a collective effort to reduce global methane emissions at least 30 percent from 2020 levels by 2030. Methane (CH4) is a potent greenhouse gas responsible for nearly a third of near-term climate change.

Over 100 countries, who have combined emissions equalling almost half of global methane emissions, have already signed on to the pledge.

News from the States

ILLINOIS:

Illinois lawmakers just passed what is considered the nation's most equitable climate bill Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (SB2408). This historic climate legislation will put Illinois on a path to a 100% clean energy future while providing a just transition for workers and communities historically dependent on dirty fossil fuels, enacting some of the toughest utility accountability measures in the nation, and creating jobs and wealth in Illinois’ Black and brown communities. The Climate and Equitable Jobs Act is supported by both labor and environmental justice groups including Climate Jobs IL and the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition. Also, the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition will be recognized at the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow for their work on this legislation. The coalition was also awarded the United Nations Global Goals Award on October 20th for their leadership in working toward UN Goal #7 - Affordable & Clean Energy.

MINNESOTA:

SEIU Healthcare Minnesota Executive Vice President Jigme Ugen and members joined thousands of protestors at the Minnesota State Capitol to oppose Enbridge’s Line 3 tar sands oil pipeline. Line 3 is yet the latest chapter in the scorched earth history of the many treaty betrayals and genocidal atrocities committed by state and federal governments in Indian Country.

Edition 2

SEIU members and worker leaders in the Fight for $15 and a Union are confronted daily by the impacts of climate change and environmental injustice. This newsletter offers a snapshot of how we’re combating climate change and fighting against environmental injustice in our workplaces and communities as well as calling on major industries, corporations, and governments to protect the health, safety and long-term economic well-being of all working people across America.

Join Us to #SEALTHEDEAL for Climate, Care, Jobs and Justice on August 19.

Find an action near you at http://sealthedeal2021.com

National Day Of Action August 9

The US Senate on Tuesday pushed forward two key pieces of legislation, first approving a $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IJA) and then narrowly adopting the blueprint for a $3.5 trillion comprehensive framework to enact the Build Back Better Agenda. Just after August recess, the House will first take up this larger bill and then vote on the IJA. After that the Senate is expected to vote on the reconciliation. Together these two bills provide substantial funding for clean water and climate initiatives, which are essential to building our country back better and ensuring that workers have unions and a voice in their own futures. That’s why we need to make sure Congress hears our demands over the August recess. SEIU will be hosting numerous events to emphasize how important it will be to fund CARE WORK, CLIMATE ACTION, UNION JOBS and JUSTICE.

Please use this link to find an action near you on August 19th!

Check out these recaps of our recent actions on July 13th and July 20th

Free Concert this Friday Sponsored by SEIU & Allies

August 13 Cant Wait Live Concert

Been missing live music and live near Philadelphia? Don’t live near Philly but looking for a way to enjoy your Friday? Working Families Party, MoveOn Civic Action and MoveOn Political Action, Service Employees International Union and National Domestic Workers Alliance are putting on a show you don’t want to miss! Throughout the concert, artists, activists and other speakers will uplift a core message: Our communities need a rightful path to recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic NOW. Coming off a year of historic suffering, speakers will highlight the urgency of the intersecting crises Americans face, including climate disasters and unemployment, and remind Democrats in Congress that voters expect them to deliver on their commitments to bold, popular policies that will tackle decades of disinvestment and improve the post-pandemic lives of working people. In person tickets are free at EventBrite Can’t make it in person? No problem the show will be livestreamed at https://www.cantwait.live/

DID YOU KNOW?

Forest Fires Feed Off Climate Change

The International Panel on Climate Change has just released a new report saying that (barring comprehensive world wide action to reduce emissions to net zero by 2050) the planet is now expected to warm by 1.5 C by 2040-- a date much sooner than previously thought.

The report stresses that the 1.5 degree warmer world will be characterized by more frequent and intense heat waves, droughts, floods, and fires.

It could lead to more frequent droughts- like the one currently gripping the western United States which has ushered in an early and destructive fire season. It has forced thousands to evacuate, and sent dangerous smoke plumes all the way to the east coast. The Dixie Fire burning in the Feather River watershed that supplies much of the state's drinking water is now the 2nd largest fire in the California history and has destroyed the historic town of Greenville. The Dixie Fire is just one of more than 100 fires burning in 11 western states. As of August 6, 2021, nearly 39,000 wildfires have consumed over 3.4 million acres. But the United States is not alone, six regions in the Northern Hemisphere including British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario Canada, Siberia, Finland, Greece, Turkey, and Cyprus are experiencing large climate driven fires. In addition to the human and property loss and health impacts of choking smoke, smoke particulates wreak havoc with our progress of cutting CO2 emissions and destroy forests which act as carbon sinks trapping CO2. Indeed forests in Oregon that burned in the Bootleg fire included 90,000 acres of forest set aside to offset carbon emissions.

News from the States

Oregon: This month we are spotlighting the work of SEIU Local 503, whose members have made Climate Justice a major priority. After Republican legislators walked out of the Capitol to kill a Clean Energy Jobs bill in 2019, SEIU 503 was able to work with partners to pass landmark environmental justice legislation in 2021. Their efforts were spearheaded by President Mike Powers and the local’s Climate Justice Committee, working closely with the Oregon Clean Energy Opportunity campaign and Fair Shot.

Among the victories secured this session:

  • HB 2021 (100% Clean Energy for All) an equity focused transition to 100% Clean Electricity by 2040
  • HB 2475 will help provide low income rate assistance.
  • HB 2842 (Healthy Homes) will make homes safer to live in and more affordable to heat and cool.
  • SCR 17 adopts Environmental justice principles and recognizes the right of all people to clean air and water.

Edition 1

SEIU members and worker leaders in the Fight for $15 and a Union are confronted daily by the impacts of climate change and environmental injustice. This newsletter offers a snapshot of how we’re combating climate change and fighting against environmental injustice in our workplaces and communities as well as calling on major industries, corporations, and governments to protect the health, safety and long-term economic well-being of all working people across America.

It’s time to take a stand for jobs, care and justice.

Join us on July 13!

Working people and allies in the Green New Deal Network across the country are taking action on Tuesday, July 13, 2021 to declare Care is Essential. Why? As we worked through a deadly pandemic and ongoing climate disasters like wildfires, we were reminded how vital care and service jobs are to our country. While these jobs are essential, the people doing the work are paid low wages, have no benefits or paid leave.

Enough is enough. This is why we’re demanding that Congress pass bold, transformative solutions including investments in our nation’s care infrastructure that will allow us to truly build back better.

FIND AN ACTION IN YOUR COMMUNITY and SIGN UP TODAY

It's Time to Thrive Image

No Climate, No Care, No Justice, No Deal—SEIU and ALLIES call for Bold Action.

As Congress debates parts of President Biden’s Build Back Better roadmap, climate and environmental justice advocates, including SEIU, are calling for bolder action. In a recent letter to Congress, the nation's leading progressive organizations urged lawmakers to swiftly pass legislation to invest at least $4 trillion through 2024, bound by high-road labor, equity and climate standards.

SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry explained in a joint blog with Michael Brune of the Sierra Club and Maurice Mitchell of the Working Families Party that these investments lead to “an inclusive, resilient country where every family can thrive no matter what color we are, where we’re from, or what we do for a living.” They would also create millions of good-paying union jobs in sustainable infrastructure and buildings, clean energy and transportation, advanced clean manufacturing, care work, community resilience, and more.

Now is the time to raise our voices loud and strong for Climate, for Care, for Justice! Are you ready to tell Congress No Climate, No Care, No Justice, No Deal? Take action now!

Did you know?

image of north pacific USA map with excessive heat warnings

Extreme heat kills more people each year in the U.S. than any other kind of natural disaster! These weather events are becoming more frequent and intense due to climate change. Rising temps have left many home care providers, librarians and public facilities workers serving a dual role as climate workers as people look for relief.

Want to see how bad extreme heat could get in your area in upcoming years? Check out this interactive tool from the Union of Concerned Scientists, one of SEIU’s partners in the Blue Green Alliance.

News from the states:

CALIFORNIA: SEIU-USWW members are calling on the City of Los Angeles to rethink plans for airport expansion after a report, Turbulence Ahead, revealed  the serious environmental and equity impacts of the proposal. It also shows why an expansion at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) must be done in a way that properly reckons with issues of environmental justice and equity, front and center. Read more here.

ILLINOIS: SEIU Local 1 members joined a June 30th #NoClimate, No Care, No Justice, NoDeal event in Chicago with the Green New Deal Network.

MASSACHUSETTS: 32 BJ SEIU members joined Mass Renews Alliance, 350 Mass, and Sunrise Boston on June 30 to demand that members of Congress support a budget resolution that invests in Black and brown communities impacted greatly by the climate crisis and environmental racism.

NEW YORK: SEIU 32 BJ and 1199 members along with allies from Climate Jobs New York are fighting to make sure that offshore wind development not only produces clean energy but also results in good union jobs, including those in operations and maintenance.


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