IBEW Organizer Looks to Unionize Green Industry

There are not many union locals with an environmental organizer on staff.

 

But because the renewable energy industry is a growth sector in a slow economy, Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 569 in San Diego is sparing no effort to make sure jobs working with green technology are pathways to good-paying careers.

In a recent interview with CleanTechies blog, Local 569 Environmental Organizer Micah Mitrosky talks about her job:

Our mission is to make sure that as our economy shifts to a low-carbon, sustainable economy, that we’re creating middle-class jobs with health benefits, skilled career opportunities … We want to make sure that, as we’re bringing in these new greener technologies and new green ways of doing things, that we’re replacing those with better middle-class career opportunities.

While most of the economy contracted last year, the renewable energy sector saw record growth and is gearing up for an even bigger year in 2010. And thanks to Local 569’s commitment to aggressive marketing and advanced training, it has successfully been making inroads into the green energy industry.

 

As reported in the March issue of the Electrical Worker, the IBEW's monthly newspaper:

(D)espite a sluggish construction market, the alternative energy sector—particularly solar photovoltaics—continues to be a vibrant and growing part of California's economy and it is keeping members of Local 569 busy.

"Without all the solar work, our unemployment rate would be twice as a high," says Local 569 Business Manager Allen Shur.

More than 10 percent of the 2,200-member local are busy installing and maintaining solar panels on commercial projects. Solar power has even allowed the local to crack the traditionally nonunion residential market.

"One of our contractors did more than 800 homes alone," Shur said.

Mitrosky, a former Sierra Club organizer, says she faces many of the same challenges that confront most union organizers.

We’re running into the same things with (the) industry that we’ve always run into. They’re working hard to keep wages low, offshore jobs, cut corners on safety if it means a few cents more in profits.  It’s the same old story that unions have faced for a century.

But despite the obstacles, she says she is hopeful about the growing partnership between the alternative energy industry and the IBEW.

We’re looking at the electric car. I know that’s going to require a lot of skilled electrical work … I’m looking at some energy efficiency retrofit possibilities. Are there some ways to partner with municipalities here in our region?  Energy efficiency is the low-hanging fruit. It’s a way to create jobs quickly, save electricity right away, reduce your greenhouse gases and there’s a lot of public funds and utility funds available for that.

To read the whole interview, click here.

Tags: IBEW, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, union, labor movement, San Diego, California, green energy, alternative energy, Local 569, Sierra Club, Blue-Green Alliance (all tags)

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My Letter to Mr. Geithner and the Link to The Protest of All Protests

Link to my blog

Mr. Timothy F. Geithner
Secretary of the Treasury
1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20220

Dear Mr. Geithner,

Your help is needed to remediate an unintended crises developing as a consequence of banks abusing the bailout funding and the real estate calamity they caused.

I have encountered significant problems with various banks, including PNC Bank and Bank of America in regard to deficiencies on first and second home mortgage positions. Both banks have an iron clad rule that they will hold the borrower to the full amount of the deficiency owed less of course the amount paid through the short sale. After the taxpayers’ generous bailouts of these companies, which have only survived because of the tax payers; it is abundantly harsh and unreasonable for these banks not to settle with the borrowers for the proceeds of the sale when the borrower has no other assets and no other means of recovery.

It is my opinion that this was not the intent of the Federal Reserve Banks, neither The Treasure Department nor the Obama administration to have millions of families lose everything and have the lenders follow them for the rest of their lives for the deficiencies after the tax payers bailed them out. With a lien or judgment against an individual they will be unable to recover from this economic calamity brought on by the same banks which now refuse to help. In most cases they have gone through all their savings, cashed in retirement accounts to try to hold on to their homes and property, still the banks want blood.

Such refusal to cooperate with borrowers is certain to create a sub class of citizens in the United States as they drive them into bankruptcy. In my conservations in particular with PNC Bank I find their representatives almost gleeful while having absolutely no empathy for the public. This policy I have been advised from various PNC management team members and executives has been established by the Chairman Mr. James Rohr.

Your assistance is needed to remediate this brewing problem before millions of families have the additional trauma of having to file bankruptcy.

Very truly yours,

Warren Curtin

wacurtin@gmail.com

http://www.google.com/profiles/wacurtin

by Warren G Curtin 2010-03-17 11:13AM | 0 recs

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