JUST TRANSITION FOR WORKERS AND COMMUNITIES
The dignity of the worker and the voice of community are two values that should be central to any economy. Yet, the extractive economy has prioritized profits at the expense of people and often wedges workers and communities against each other. Too often, we have witnessed the fossil-fuel industry pit community concerns against workers’ rights, when we should be united in a common goal: to build healthy and vibrant communities where we work and live. Bringing community and labor together is critical to fully address the climate crisis and move forward a Regenerative Economy.
This is one of the Policy Planks of the United Frontline Table’s toolkit A People’s Orientation to a Regenerative Economy. The policy planks are one of three tools in the kit, together with series of Strategy Questions and the Protect, Repair, Invest, and Transform Framework. Make sure the check out the section on How to Use This Resource to Enhance Your Work and the Working Definitions.
Policy Stances and Priorities
No Automation without Direct Union Job Placement
Automation of jobs must be recognized as a critical reason for job losses. Starting with unionized sectors as a standard, all workers should receive training and job placement support, along with fully guaranteed pensions, due to industry changes.
No More Extractive Wealth
Fossil fuel companies, Big Ag, waste incinerators, and financial corporations profiting from these sectors have heavily extracted from frontline communities, particularly in Appalachia, the Gulf South, and Indigenous lands. These corporations must be penalized for harms and not allowed to profit, practice greenwashing, or lead the transition away from these extractive practices. In addition, all subsidies for fossil fuel and corporate agricultural practices and commodities, including tax breaks for land and water, must be phased out by 2024 and reinvested in renewable energies and regenerative agriculture and frontline-led Just Transition.
Labor Rights and Fair Compensation
Secure and enforce worker protections, guarantee collective bargaining rights, and expand unionization and bargaining rights for day laborers, domestic workers, and other marginalized and exploited workers. Provide a federal living wage and a guarantee to honor prior labor agreements (including pensions and other retirement plans) in cases of corporate bankruptcy, dissolution, and/or transition.
Provide non-extractive investment resources to workers, worker-owned cooperatives, and small-scale businesses who will integrate ecological practices and relocalize production, aggregation, and distribution.
Support for Public Sources
Shore up funding for schools and other public programs that provide vital services to communities and currently rely on tax dollars paid by extractive industries.
Community governance of our economies—from food, energy, and housing, to transportation, production, and waste, along with other Just Transition projects—must put the decision-making for planning, siting, operations, and investments in the hands of impacted communities.
End Racial Capitalism in Jobs
Expand just and equitable job opportunities in any labor solution that also strategically combats racism, discrimination, patriarchy, and income inequity.
Pathway to Living Wage Work
Create millions of low- to no-emission, good jobs with security and living wages for workers in industries transitioning off of the extractive economy—especially those working in the fossil fuel industry, displaced and new healthcare workers, and workers typically excluded from collective bargaining, such as domestic, childcare, food chain, service sector, gig workers, and arts and cultural workers..