SEIU Joins International Union and Environmental Allies to Advocate for Environmental Justice

NOVEMBER 30, 2007
12:23 P

Michelle Ringuette 202-341-7057

SEIU Joins International Union and Environmental Allies to Advocate for Environmental Justice
SEIU Vice President Gerry Hudson to highlight disproportionate impact of global warming on low-income people, advocate for environmental justice

WASHINGTON, DC - November 30 - SEIU Executive Vice President Gerry Hudson will travel to Bali, Indonesia, December 6th - 11th as part of the first-ever U.S. labor delegation to participate in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Hudson, who will be joined by SEIU Director of Occupational Health & Safety Bill Borwegen, will call for bold and swift action to mitigate the disproportionate impacts of climate change on low-income communities, and advocate a dual commitment to the environment and society.

Hudson today issued the following statement of purpose:

“The accumulated scientific evidence leaves no doubt that climate change is an imminent threat that requires immediate, collective and decisive action at the global level. This ongoing environmental crisis will affect millions of workers’ communities and workplaces for generations to come.

“As a union that represents 1.9 million workers—many of whom are in low-income industries—SEIU is particularly concerned about the needs of low-income workers. While everyone will experience the negative impacts of climate change, the most vulnerable will experience them disproportionately. Low-income communities already suffer disproportionately from placement of landfills and power plants and their related health hazards. When changes in consumption are required, it is poor consumers who are hit the hardest by higher prices for essential services such as electricity or fuel.

“Transitional measures are needed to protect affected workers from the economic consequences of climate change measures. We must provide job training or re-training, and seek to diversify the economies of communities that currently depend heavily on energy-intensive industries.

“Finally, with the bulk of its members in United States, the highest per-capita emitter of green house gases, SEIU will use its influence to press U.S. elected officials to support emission restrictions, and make investments in clean energy and quality green job creation. Such policies will reduce poverty and contribute to sustainable economic growth.”

Click here to read SEIU’s statement of principles on environmental justice.

With 1.9 million members, SEIU is the fastest-growing union in North America. Focused on uniting workers in three sectors to improve their lives and the services they provide, SEIU is the largest health care union, including hospitals, nursing homes, and home care; the largest property services union, including building cleaning and security; and the second largest public employee union.