As a sustainability analyst for ClackamasCounty and member of the DTD chapter of AFSCME Local 350, I was recruited to participate in the AFSCME Green Caucus. Prior to that time I was not active in my union beyond paying dues. The invitation to get involved with this group essentially resulted in a snowball effect.Since our first meeting, I have now been nominated as a delegate for the 2008 convention plus I was one of three people from our union to be selected as a participant in the University of Oregon?s Labor Education and ResearchCenter?s STAR fund program to study labor?s response to global climate change.
I have always supported unions, but I was really encouraged to get more involved with my Local once I realized they were concerned and interested in the issues I care about.When I first approached Local 350 for their endorsement as a STAR fund applicant, there was an overwhelming interest in the room about climate change and how the union can get more involved.The positive reaction I received served as a catalyst for my participation in both Oregon AFSCME and Local 350.
Despite the lack of consensus over the cause of climate change, it is in the interest of all unions to participate in the debate.There are several reasons including the creation of ?green collar? jobs, attracting younger union members, transitioning to a new economy and including labor in environmental legislation.Serving as a resource for my local is beneficial both to my union and an exciting endeavor.Especially since throughout history the environmental movement has butted heads with labor on a number of different issues.It is my hope that by being involved with the AFSCME Green Caucus I can help bridge this divide and move towards a more sustainable future for all.
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