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BlueGreen Alliance

1020 19th Street NW, Suite 600 Washington, DC 20036

 

Membership

icon_members More than 15,000,000 members and supporters

Affiliations

icon_affiliations

  • United Steelworkers (USW)
  • Sierra Club
  • Communications Workers of America (CWA)
  • Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)
  • Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
  • National Wildlife Federation (NWF)
  • Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA)
  • Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS)
  • American Federation of Teachers (AFT)
  • Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU)
  • United Auto Workers (UAW)
  • Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART)
  • United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry of the United States and Canada (UA)
  • EDF Action
  • International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers (BAC)

Structure

icon_structureThe BlueGreen Alliance (BGA) is a strategic partnership of environmental groups and labor organizations working together to promote clean energy jobs in a green economy. It was first launched in 2006 by the United Steelworkers and the Sierra Club and has since gained many more member organizations (affiliated environmental groups and unions). The BGA is a national action group with initiatives promoting clean energy, workers’ rights, transportation, climate change research, fuel efficient vehicles, green schools, recycling, energy efficiency, infrastructure, locally owned businesses, and broadband connection. Member groups and individual contributors fund the organization. BGA’s staff design public policies, perform research, and run advocacy and public education campaigns in support of the initiatives listed above. The BGA’s funding is managed by its board of directors consisting of members of affiliated labor unions and environmental groups.

Key Officers

DF-HighResKim Glas, Executive Director

Kim Glas is the Executive Director of the BlueGreen Alliance, a national partnership of labor unions and environmental organizations dedicated to expanding the number and quality of jobs while growing a clean energy economy. Over the past 15 years, Kim Glas has served in senior leadership positions in the Obama administration and the U.S. House of Representatives, most recently serving as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Textiles, Consumer Goods, and Materials at the U.S. Department of Commerce. In that capacity, she worked to improve the domestic and international competitiveness of the broad product range of U.S. textiles, apparel, consumer goods, metals and mining, forest products, and chemicals and plastics manufacturing sectors and industries. Prior to her service in the Obama administration, Ms. Glas served for 10 years on Capitol Hill, working extensively on manufacturing, trade, and economic policy issues for Congressman Mike Michaud from Maine and Congressman John LaFalce from New York. As Deputy Chief of Staff/Legislative Director for Congressman Mike Michaud, she led efforts in the House of Representatives to establish the House Trade Working Group, a bipartisan organization consisting of members of Congress, staff, labor, environment, and consumer groups that served as a key coalition in the House on trade and manufacturing issues.

Board of Directors, Co Chairs:

leowgerardLeo W. Gerard, Co-Chairs, International President, United Steelworkers, Co-Chair United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union, AFL-CIO, CLC. Gerard was appointed International President on Feb. 28, 2001 by the USW’s International Executive Board to succeed the late George Becker, who had retired. That November, Gerard was elected by acclamation in union-wide elections. Previously, Gerard was the union’s International Secretary-Treasurer (1994-2001), the National Director for Canada (1991-1994) and Director of District 6 in Ontario (1986-1991). In 2005, Gerard led a ticket of International Officers and District Directors who, for the first time in the union’s history, were elected without opposition. He was again re-elected by acclamation in 2009 and was installed in his current term on March 1, 2010. Under Gerard’s direction, the USW has filed more trade law complaints than any other union or any single company. In general, these complaints seek sanctions against foreign companies that receive illegal government subsidies and dump products in U.S. markets at predatory prices. As USW President, Gerard was instrumental in the formation of the Industrial Union Council of the AFL-CIO. He is a member of the AFL-CIO Executive Committee as well as serving on its Executive Council. He is also a board member of the AFL-CIO Transportation Trades Department and chairs the AFL-CIO Public Policy Committee. Gerard also serves on the U.S. National Commission on Energy Policy and is a founding board member of the Apollo Alliance, a non-profit public policy initiative for creating good jobs in pursuit of energy independence that recently merged with the BlueGreen Alliance. A co-founder of BlueGreen, Gerard also serves on the boards of the Campaign for America’s Future, the Economic Policy Institute and the Elderly Housing Development & Operations Corp., as well as serving as a member of the Labor Advisory Board at Wayne State University.

MichaelBruneMichael Brune, Executive Director, Sierra Club, Co-Chair Michael Brune is the Executive Director of the Sierra Club, an American environmental organization founded by conservationist John Muir in 1892. Brune was appointed to his position as executive director in January 2010. Prior to working for the Sierra Club, Brune was the Executive Director of the Rainforest Action Network for seven years. He also worked as an organizer for Greenpeace. In 1999, while working at Rainforest Action Network, Brune ran a successful campaign to get Home Depot stores to stop purchasing and selling wood from old-growth forests. Time magazine listed this as its top environmental story of that year. Brune is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post, a progressive website founded by Arianna Huffington, as well as Daily Kos.

Board of Directors

  • Phil Angelides, President, Riverview Capital Investment
  • James Boland, President, International Union of Bricklayers & Allied Craftworkers
  • Robert Borosage, President, Institute for America’s Future
  • Larry Cohen, President, Communications Workers of America
  • Lawrence J. Hanley, International President, Amalgamated Transit Union
  • William Hite, General President, United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry
  • Gerald Hudson, International Executive Vice President, Service Employees International Union
  • Lorretta Johnson, Secretary-Treasurer, American Federation of Teachers
  • D. Michael Langford, National President, Utility Workers Union of America
  • Peter Lehner, Executive Director, Natural Resources Defense Council
  • Mindy S. Lubber, JD, MBA, President, CERES
  • Joseph Nigro, General President, International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers
  • Collin O’Mara, President and CEO, National Wildlife Federation
  • Kathleen Rest, Executive Director, Union of Concerned Scientists
  • Elizabeth Thompson, President, Enviornmental Defense Fund Action
  • Dennis Williams, President, United Auto Workers

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Green Contacts

For a list of key BGA staff, visit: http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/about/contact

Sustainability Profile

icon_greenprofile The BGA’s mission is to advocate for “the growth in the number and quality of jobs in the clean economy by expanding a broad range of industries, including renewable energy, energy efficiency, the substitution of safer, cleaner chemicals, modern transportation systems and advanced vehicle technology, domestic manufacturing, high-speed Internet and a smart, efficient electrical grid, green schools and other public buildings, improving our nation’s water infrastructure, recycling, and sustainable agriculture.” Its staff is responsible for “[designing] public policies, [performing research], and [running] advocacy and public education campaigns.” The BlueGreen Alliance works to find common ground between labor and environmental organizations. Much of its work is driven by its members’ objectives.

The BGA heads the following initiatives:

  • Clean Energy “Expanding markets for wind, solar, and geothermal will create good jobs and make the United States competitive in the global economy.”
  • Workers’ Rights “A clean economy means preserving collective bargaining rights and good jobs with family-supporting wages, a secure retirement, and a safe workplace.”
  • Transportation “Making highways more efficient, providing more transit options, and making ports sustainable and competitive will create jobs, reduce pollution, and help America compete in the global economy.”
  • Work, Environment and Public Health “Strong measures to protect workers and our communities from toxic chemicals will improve public health, protect the environment, and drive innovation and job creation in the 21st century economy.”
  • Climate Change “Averting catastrophic climate change and adapting to changes that are now unavoidable must be paramount.”
  • Fuel Efficient Vehicles “While strengthening the auto sector, building advanced vehicles here will create tens of thousands of new engineering and manufacturing jobs.”
  • Green Schools “Greening our school buildings and curriculum will make our children and teachers safer, create jobs and save school districts money.”
  • Energy Efficiency “Energy efficiency measures result in significant energy savings and create good jobs in manufacturing, construction and other sectors.”
  • Recycling “Expanding our nationwide recycling infrastructure will create and sustain jobs while reducing carbon emissions and other harmful pollutants.”
  • Infrastructure “Rebuilding our energy and water infrastructure is key to making America’s economy stronger, competitive and efficient.”
  • Made in America “The United States must adopt environmentally and socially responsible trade and development policies to create and sustain millions of good jobs.”
  • Broadband “Ensuring all Americans have reliable access to high-speed, affordable broadband service will encourage economic development, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and energy use, create jobs and ensure American competitiveness in a 21st century economy.”

The BlueGreen Alliance also “provides staff and resources to support the work of its sister organization, the BlueGreen Alliance Foundation, an independent, non-profit, 501(c) (4) organization that conducts research and educates the public and media about solutions to environmental challenges that create economic opportunities for the American people.” In tandem with the BlueGreen Alliance Foundation, the BGA coordinates a jobs campaign called Jobs21!, whose stated mission is “to maintain our current jobs and create new ones by making America more competitive in the 21st century economy.” Jobs21! describes itself as a “jobs plan” and can be broken down into the following six job creating areas: “growing clean energy; making buildings more energy efficient;  revitalizing American manufacturing; moving power and connecting the country; rebuilding roads and railways and driving 21st century vehicles; and improving job quality, the health of our communities – and the environment we share.” Jobs21! has already been successful in creating jobs, leveraging the private sector,  and obtaining bipartisan support. Jobs21! is a central part of the work of the Blue Green Alliance. Another important sect of the BGAF is the Clean Energy Manufacturing Center (CEMC), a “‘one-stop’ resource for public officials, economic development organizations and companies wanting to implement manufacturing job creation strategies in clean energy industries.” In particular, the CEMC confronts every step of the greening process starting with the establishment of green supply chains for manufacturers and suppliers. One of the BGA’s functions is to educate and provide training on a series of environmental issues.  The Alliances offers “a range of educational programs addressing solutions to environmental and economic challenges…and [conducts] joint training for working people, environmentalists and other partners to build alliances and to win on issues that will help create good, well-paying and environmentally sustainable jobs.” Additionally, the BlueGreen Alliance Foundation is the primary sponsor for the Good Jobs Green Jobs conferences. These conferences establish a “forum for sharing ideas and strategies for building the new, green economy and creating good, green jobs.” The following are excerpts from just a few of the notable statements made by the alliance as a whole:

  1. On Obama’s Medium- and Heavy-Duty Emission Standards “The BlueGreen Alliance strongly supports the Obama administration’s efforts to build a comprehensive, national set of vehicle standards that will usher in a cleaner fleet of cars and trucks. These standards will reduce our dependence on oil, strengthen the U.S. auto and truck manufacturing sectors, create quality jobs and significantly reduce GHG pollution as America transitions to a 21st century clean energy economy.
  2. Responding to the State of the Union Address: Respond to Climate Change, Invest in Clean Economy “Congress should heed the president’s call for action on climate change. In a few weeks, our nation will once again face the choice of whether to invest in the priorities that will put people back to work and prepare our nation for the future. We cannot afford to miss this opportunity to build a cleaner, stronger, and fairer America for the next generation.”
  3. On the Clean Air and Water Act/ EPA Regulations: “The BlueGreen Alliance believes that protecting the public’s health and safety results in a stronger economy and that the pending EPA regulation of greenhouse gas emissions has the potential to make a more energy — efficient and globally competitive economy in the future.” Thus, although the BlueGreen Alliance believes that Congress ultimately should pass comprehensive climate and clean energy jobs legislation, the dangers presented by climate change and the potential for jobs lost as a result of inaction — leaving us further behind in the global clean energy market — are too great to delay any further the process of cutting U.S. carbon pollution under the existing law. As EPA engages in regulating these emissions, it can and must set thoughtful, science based, and economically measured reduction targets and standards.” (see appendix for the full statement and BGA’s policy proposals on enacting this act).
  4. 2011 Policy Statement on Waste Reduction, Reuse and Recycling: A Jobs, Energy Savings and Global Warming Solution “BGA and its partner organizations believe that sound recycling policy should be based on three simple ideas. First, there are costs — financial, human and environmental — for everything we buy, use and throw away. Second, investments designed to expand America’s recycling infrastructure will create significant job opportunities for working men and women. Third, waste reduction and recycling will also help reduce pollution that damages human health and exacer­bates global warming, help conserve natural resources and energy, and help prevent environmental degradation.”

Additional Comments and Analysis

icon_comment While the BlueGreen Alliance itself did not come out against the Keystone Pipeline, the Alliance represents nearly all of the groups that signed a joint statement backing Obama’s decision to delay the pipeline in 2012. The Alliance has yet to comment on the concept of “clean coal, ” another point of tension between environmental and labor activists. This silence is perhaps due to the alliance’s diverging membership. Even its founders, the USW and Sierra Club are at opposite ends of the issue.  

Appendixes

Appendix 1: Protecting Our Health and Safety, Building a Stronger Economy Statement from the BlueGreen Alliance Established 40 years ago to enforce our country’s landmark environmental legislation, the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has improved the quality of the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the environment in which we live. Ever since its inception, opponents have wrongly charged that the vital public health functions of this agency have come at a cost to the American economy and, in particular, have caused significant job loss. The BlueGreen Alliance believes that protecting the public’s health and safety results in a stronger economy and that the pending EPA regulation of greenhouse gas emissions has the potential to make a more energy — efficient and globally competitive economy in the future. As history demonstrates that they have in the past, good jobs and a clean environment work hand in hand in the 21st century. The labor and environmental partners of our Alliance worked together in the 111th Congress to advance comprehensive climate and energy legislation that could have helped us to achieve this balance. However, Congress failed to act, and the problem of a worsening environment remains. In 2007 the Supreme Court held that the EPA has the authority and responsibility to curb greenhouse gas emissions as a part of its obligations under the Clean Air Act. It would be a mistake with significant economic and environmental consequences for the 112th Congress to diminish this authority. Pollution is, quite simply, a form of waste and a sign of inefficiency. Over and over again the environmental safeguards of the last 40 years have resulted in waste reduction, energy efficiency, and greater economic competitiveness — creating thousands of new jobs and making existing jobs more secure. In a global economy, where our international competitors are leading in the development of clean energy technologies and deployment, retreating from this basic understanding is tantamount to surrendering our economic future. Air pollution of all sorts also puts a tremendous drag on our economic recovery, from increased health care expenses to the costs of adapting to changed weather patterns. Thus, although the BlueGreen Alliance believes that Congress ultimately should pass comprehensive climate and clean energy jobs legislation, the dangers presented by climate change and the potential for jobs lost as a result of inaction — leaving us further behind in the global clean energy market — are too great to delay any further the process of cutting U.S. carbon pollution under the existing law. As EPA engages in regulating these emissions, it can and must set thoughtful, sciencebased, and economically measured reduction targets and standards. Climate change poses an overriding threat to our economy, public health, and national security. The cost of inaction, even for a few years, will put the U.S. economy at a serious disadvantage to its competitors in China, Japan, and the European Union. Although done with significant government subsidies, China, for instance, has already created over one million jobs in its clean energy sector, surpassing the U.S. in the installation of wind-generated electricity, captured a majority of the global solar photovoltaic market and is outspending the U.S. in clean energy deployment by two to one. The continuing failure to set our nation on a path for clean energy development is a national security threat to future generations. Year by year, our reliance on foreign sources of energy has grown and now is the single greatest contributor to our unsustainable trade deficits, siphoning a trillion dollars a year out of the U.S. economy. Congress should reject proposals that weaken the Clean Air Act, and instead should focus on steps it can take to supplement EPA action to address industry concerns about capital availability, international competitiveness, and complementary energy policies. The BlueGreen Alliance believes that Congress should enact the following policies to complement the Clean Air Act and ensure that our country fully realizes the job-retention and job-creating benefits of the clean energy economy: 1. Create clear market signals for clean energy deployment. Congress should pass legislation that sets specific targets for clean energy generation that expands renewable resources and the implementation of a federal Energy Efficiency Resource Standard. 2. Address global competitiveness. Congress should adopt measures to prevent possible “carbon leakage” and promote the global competitiveness of energy intensive industries. Such policies could include a border-adjustment measure to ensure a level playing field. 3. Invest in cleaner, more advanced power generation. Congress should provide direct assistance for advancements in and rapid deployment of technology that will clean up and improve the efficiency power generation to help insure the continuation of highly skilled and living wage jobs. 4. Provide a proper transition for workers and communities. Congress, states, localities and utilities should ensure that workers and communities affected by the transition to cleaner energy sources are provided with necessary assistance. 5. Guarantee access to capital markets for energy-intensive industries. Tight capital markets and limited borrowing capacity continue to threaten the viability of some companies. Congress should provide loan guarantees, tax credits, grants, and other forms of assistance for American industry to make investments to increase efficiency and reduce emissions. 6. Rebuild American manufacturing and infrastructure. A vibrant clean energy economy requires that America retool its manufacturing base and renew its infrastructure investments. Congress should extend, with updated eligibility criteria, and expand a range of proven programs such as the 48C Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credits, and pass new transitional investment measures such as the IMPACT Act’s revolving loan program. Robust federal investments must be made to improve our crumbling infrastructure. Passage of a robust Surface Transportation Act with a secure funding stream could provide millions of jobs while improving transportation options. Investments into improving the nation’s energy infrastructure will help bring new generation capacity to areas that have renewable resources, but not the ability to move them to market. These policies, combined with EPA action under the Clean Air Act to reduce carbon pollution, are critical to moving America toward its clean energy future. The BlueGreen Alliance believes that these steps represent a sensible approach to reduce carbon pollution and move us toward a clean energy economy while making the U.S. economy more competitive, putting millions of Americans back to work, strengthening our existing industries, and building the new industries of the future.

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