Despite woeful membership numbers, organized labor is far from dead. The so-called Blue-Green alliance of organized labor and environmental organizations is its chance to thrive.
The Alliance was on full display at a rally of about 1,000 people in Long Beach, Long Island, on June 14 in support of the proposed DeepWater ONE wind energy project, 30 miles off the coast of Montauk and 15 miles southwest of Martha’s Vineyard.
Organized by the Sierra Club with support from Oceana, the rally included a representative from the 250K-member strong Long Island AFL-CIO, who said unions must drop their reflexive opposition to green groups, which is largely based on criticizing any of their initiatives as job killers.
The organizer belives corporate America has skillfully used labor allies to fight green initiatives and regulations.
The result: labor gets the shaft as factories still close and jobs flee the country. Labor’s future, according to the AFL-CIO rep, is geared to creating or nurturing new businesses such as DeepWater ONE, which he said would put union people to work.
DeepWater Wind says its turbine project will provide power to 350K homes and displace 1.7M tons of carbon dioxide emissions. The Army Corps of Engineers is expected to sign off on the wind farm next month.
The project, however, faces opposition within the sectors of greens (e.g., concern for birds smashing into the turbines), fishing/shipping businesses and real estate interests fretting over the “unsightly image” of the offshore windmills.
The AFL-CIO promises to use its clout with politicos such as New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to make sure those windmills get to spin.
Cuomo has dragged his feet on the contentious fracking issue, putting off a decision until he’s elected in November.
Backing of DeepWater would give the Governor some solid footing in the blue and green collar communities.
After all, Cuomo does want to be president some day.