Americans must respond to the need for addressing the climate crisis, our dependence on foreign oil and the loss of American manufacturing jobs with another Apollo style program. This belief was recognized by over 100 supporters as the "Made in America Jobs Tour" organized by the Blue Green Alliance (USW and Sierra Club) and the Alliance for Climate Protection's "Repower America" campaign met at St. Louis Community College on September 1.
Mary Armstrong, St Louis American Federation of Teachers
The tour is winding its way through 22 states following a kick-off in Cleveland two weeks earlier.
Tom Rodenbaugh with the Carpenters’ District Council of Greater St. Louis spoke about the jobs that could be created if tax credits were offered by the state of Missouri for weatherizing homes, businesses and public buildings.
Jill Miller owner White Caps Green Collars
Jill Miller was a panelist who spent many years as an organizer for the Sierra Club. As a St. Louis resident, she realized the city was a sea of flat dark roofs that would save 50% on their energy bills if those roofs were painted white. So she started her own painting business named “White Caps Green Collars.”
Millions of clean energy jobs that pay a living wage, won’t be off-shored and benefit the global climate would be a revolution in the making, the panelists believe. We simply need government policies to help advance the technology and make the United States a leader in good, clean jobs.
Dennis Barker USW Local 1899 Granite City, IL.
Dennis Barker, union safety representative for USW Local 1899 in Granite City, IL. only minutes across the river from St. Louis, gave a brief historical reflection on the Steelworkers’ progressive work towards a healthier environment.
“The Clean Air Act passed by President Kennedy was given great support by the USW back in 1963. The 1998, event, “Battle in Seattle,” was the first time that labor and environmentalist worked together. The unexpected coalition realized the shared goals and the fight against the advancement of the WTO.” Barker reminded the audience that as advocates for safe and clean work environments for its workers and the communities, the USW is essentially creating four phases of good jobs in the steel mill. The engineer who designs pollution control systems, the manufacturing of those components, the installation of these bag houses and precipitators, and the USW jobs to maintain them.
Barker also told the enthusiastic audience that the industrial wind turbines that are being made in Pennsylvania employ over 1,000 steelworkers, and that each turbine requires over 250 tons of steel to produce each 20 story tower. These structures are so large that to enable maintenance to be performed, helicopter pads are built on top.
Mary Armstrong, President of the St. Louis Local 420, American Federation of Teachers, reminded the listeners that children are our future, and if we hope to hold any position as engineers and manufacturers to take our country into the future of green energy jobs, we need bold action and investments in technology and science curriculum in our schools.
To learn more: www.repoweramerica.org/