It’s time for Albany to lead on climate jobs

By Climate Jobs New York | April 11, 2024

The climate crisis is hammering New York with extreme weather. Inequality is skyrocketing, squeezing working families across our state. But are we doing enough to tackle these issues and meet the moment?

Recent reports that our state is no longer on track to building enough clean energy should be worrisome – especially since polls show that a wide majority of New Yorkers are concerned about the impacts of the climate crisis and think our leaders should do more to respond to it. A majority of New Yorkers also support bold public investments in clean energy projects that create high-quality jobs with family-sustaining wages and benefits in our state.

Working families in New York deserve a clean energy economy powered by high-quality union careers. Albany has a shot right now to help make that happen, by including strong labor standards for clean energy workers in this year’s state budget. Strong labor standards – throughout the supply chain — will make sure that working families see real benefits as we invest in clean energy infrastructure, from offshore wind to solar and battery storage, to deliver clean power.

If our leaders embrace strong labor standards, we can help bring much needed high-quality manufacturing jobs to upstate communities reeling from decades of disinvestment and deindustrialization, we can support pathways to middle-class careers in communities of color on the frontlines of climate change, and we can take climate action that creates equitable economic opportunity and helps rebuild the middle class.

Climate Jobs New York, a coalition of unions representing 2.6 million working New Yorkers, is leading the way with worker-centered solutions to climate change. We know that working class communities of color bear the brunt of climate change, from extreme heat to storm damage. We know that climate change also presents a massive opportunity to change our deeply unequal society and create high-quality jobs that help boost local economies and tackle racial and economic inequality. But we can’t do any of that without strong protections and standards for the working people who are the backbone of New York. Strengthening and expanding strong labor standards also creates a level playing field for responsible employers.  Without strong labor standards, there is likely to be a race to the bottom.

The stakes are high: if we don’t embrace labor standards in this year’s budget, we risk building out a clean energy economy on the backs of working people, proliferating low-wage, exploitative, or piece-work jobs that deepen inequality and damage our communities.

Embracing strong labor standards in this year’s budget isn’t just about combating climate change; it’s about reshaping our economy to prioritize working families. The choice is clear: it’s time for New York to show the rest of the country what it looks like to lead on climate and build a future that actually works for working people.

*sponsored content*