Why labor and conservation are joining forces again

As the heads of two different kinds of organizations, we take immense pride in the long history of cooperation between the labor and environmental movements. Indeed, in 2016 more than ever before, we believe we are stronger together.

Once again, the League of Conservation Voters and United Steelworkers are joining forces because of our shared support for American manufacturing and the creation of clean energy jobs as well as our opposition to unfair trade deals like the TPP. Together we share the desire to educate the public about the value of a clean energy economy and our dedication to holding candidates accountable for their positions on renewable energy.


There’s understandably a great deal of attention being paid to the Presidential race right now, and this is yet another place where we demonstrate our shared values.  Both of our Political Action Committees have endorsed Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonOvernight Defense & National Security — Presented by Raytheon Technologies — Nation mourns Colin Powell The Memo: Powell ended up on losing side of GOP fight Powell death leads to bipartisan outpouring of grief MORE for President because she is the only candidate in the race with a plan for building the 21st century economy our working families need in order to thrive.

But we know that a President will never be able to complete the transformation to a clean energy economy alone. And while Donald TrumpDonald TrumpTrump goes after Cassidy after saying he wouldn't support him for president in 2024 Jan. 6 panel lays out criminal contempt case against Bannon Hillicon Valley — Presented by Xerox — Agencies sound alarm over ransomware targeting agriculture groups MORE hogs the spotlight with his divisive language and outrageous claims instead of plans, the Senate still sits perilously in the hands of people who are happier listening to the interests of billionaire contributors instead of their constituents.

The two main questions for 2016 are: How can we expect candidates who willfully ignore the scientific consensus of man-made climate change to provide working families with any kind of hopeful vision for our future?  And, how can we insure that the manufacturing jobs that will need to be created as part of the solution to this monumental problem are created here in America?

That is why LCV Victory Fund and USW Works are launching the New American Jobs Fund to build a majority in the Senate that is both pro-conservation and pro-jobs. They go hand-in-hand.

Through New American Jobs Fund, our groups will together focus on persuading people to vote for Senate candidates who value the jobs and economic opportunity generated by a shift to clean energy.

The New American Jobs Fund will fight for America’s middle class by working to elect forward-thinking leaders. With the right leadership in Congress, we can build a clean energy economy, creating jobs in America while also protecting our clean air and combatting climate change. 

This effort is the continuation of years of cooperation between the United Steelworkers and the League of Conservation Voters, and it will be focused on large-scale voter persuasion and mobilization in critical federal races across the country — because America’s working families deserve leadership in Washington that has their backs.

With an initial investment of around $4 million, this effort will focus on aggressive field direct voter contact campaigns in: Ohio, where the group will support Ted Strickland and oppose Senator Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanMcConnell gets GOP wake-up call Biden shows little progress with Abraham Accords on first anniversary The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - After high drama, Senate lifts debt limit MORE; Pennsylvania, where the group will support Katie McGinty and oppose Senator Pat Toomey; Nevada, where the group will support Catherine Cortez-Masto and oppose Rep. Joe Heck; and North Carolina, where the group will support Deborah Ross and oppose Senator Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrDemocratic incumbents bolster fundraising advantage in key Senate races McConnell gets GOP wake-up call Senate approves short-term debt ceiling increase MORE.

The Fund will also pursue other types of paid communication with voters, potentially including but not limited to direct mail or advertising.  We are also in talks with other organizations who are interested in joining this effort.

Clearly, control of the U.S. Senate is in play, and this effort to directly talk to tens of thousands of voters in these key states could well have an impact on the outcome of the election.  We are proud to continue this partnership that we feel is necessary to take our message to the voters.  We know we don’t have to choose between good jobs and a clean environment — we can and must have both.

Leo W. Gerard is the President of the United Steelworkers, and Gene Karpinski is President of the League of Conservation Voters.

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