July 16, 2009
American Federation of Teachers Joins Blue Green Alliance
WASHINGTON—The Blue Green Alliance today announced that the 1.4-million-member American Federation of Teachers (AFT) has joined the fast-growing labor-environmental partnership. With the addition of one of America's largest teachers' unions, the Blue Green Alliance now unites 8 million people in pursuit of good jobs, a clean environment and a green economy.
"The American Federation of Teachers is committed to protecting the health of children and protecting the environment for the next generation of Americans," said AFT President Randi Weingarten. "Along with promoting green, sustainable schools, we are thrilled to ally with organizations like the Blue Green Alliance that are working to advance priorities such as public employee collective bargaining and the Employee Free Choice Act."
The AFT, an affiliate of the AFL-CIO, represents the economic, social and professional interests of primarily public sector workers, including classroom teachers, school employees, healthcare workers, higher education professionals, public employees and early childhood workers. The union is known as an advocate for sound, commonsense public education policies. With the Blue Green Alliance, the AFT is working to advocate policies that will green America's public schools - making buildings more energy efficient and improving the health of America's public school students.
"The Blue Green Alliance welcomes the addition of the AFT's 1.4 million union members in our effort to build a clean energy economy in the United States," said United Steelworkers International President and Blue Green Alliance Co-Chair Leo W. Gerard. "We can, and we will, create the good jobs we need to rebuild the middle class by transitioning to clean energy, and the greening of the public school system is an integral part of that transition."
"America's teachers are educating the next generation of working people, and it is essential that we create good jobs that promote economic prosperity for the next generation and leave our planet in better shape than we found it," said Carl Pope, Executive Director of the Sierra Club and Co-Chair of the Blue Green Alliance. "We are thrilled to be joined by the American Federation of Teachers in this effort to build a cleaner, more efficient economy."
The Blue Green Alliance is a national partnership of labor unions and environmental organizations dedicated to expanding the number and quality of jobs in the clean energy economy. Launched by the United Steelworkers and Sierra Club in 2006, the Blue Green Alliance now includes the Communications Workers of America, Natural Resources Defense Council, Laborers' International Union of North America, Service Employees International Union and the Utility Workers Union of America.
The AFT also will take part in the Blue Green Alliance Foundation's Labor Climate Project, which is an innovative partnership with the Alliance for Climate Protection to work with union members around the country to spread the word about the job-creating potential of global warming solutions."As this partnership grows, so does the number of Americans who are ready to unleash the enormous potential that exists in the clean energy economy to create jobs and protect the environment while reducing our dependence on foreign oil," said David Foster, Executive Director of the Blue Green Alliance.
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The AFT represents more than 1.4 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.