U.S. Labor and the Struggle for Climate JusticeTodd E. Vachon
The labor–climate movement in the U.S. laid the groundwork for the Green New Deal by building a base within labor for supporting climate protection as a vehicle for good jobs. But as we confront the climate crisis and seek environmental justice, a “jobs vs. environment” discourse often pits workers against climate activists. How can we make a “just transition” moving away from fossil fuels, while also compensating for the human cost when jobs are lost or displaced?
In his timely book, Clean Air and Good Jobs, Todd Vachon examines the labor–climate movement and demonstrates what can be envisioned and accomplished when climate justice is on labor’s agenda and unions work together with other social movements to formulate bold solutions to the climate crisis. Vachon profiles the workers and union leaders who have been waging a slow, but steadily growing revolution within their unions to make labor as a whole an active and progressive champion for both workers and the environment.
Clean Air and Good Jobs examines the “movement within the movement” offering useful solutions to the dual crises of climate and inequality.
"A call to scrap the notion that a healthy environment and a healthy economy cannot coexist.... Vachon advocates the so-called Green New Deal, which would remake the economy to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and replace them with renewable energy.... Vachon argues for a brand of activism that pushes beyond the bounds of 'Jobs vs. the Environment,' and instead holds out for the 'clean air and good jobs' premise of his title, which, by transforming the energy economy, will necessarily demand workers skilled in growing fields.... (T)he overall argument is worth hearing out.... (T)his book will appeal to climate and clean-energy activists."
“Vachon’s deeply-researched look at the history and present of labor–climate relations makes the case that a truly just transition can only be achieved with radical solidarity, building a unified labor and climate justice movement that moves us past failed neoliberal policies. Clean Air and Good Jobs is an important read for anyone hoping to create a future where we all thrive.”
—Sara Nelson, International President of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA
"Vachon discusses the emerging labor-climate movement, in which workers and US labor organizations seek to replace fossil fuels to reduce the harmful effects of climate change.... A unique idea in this book is a labor-climate spectrum that shows the attitudes and activities of unions from different industries.... Summing Up: Recommended."<br/>—Choice