Interview Series

Labor and Climate

Solidarity for Better Environments - Globally and in the Workplace

Often, organizing for the climate and organized labor have been set in opposition to each other: ending polluting industries means shutting down parts of the economy that, sometimes, provide good work with a union contract. But in the US, this opposition has slowly turned around. The Inflation Reduction Act, the largest piece of climate legisation in American history, was passed with union support; unions are getting involved in organizing to support a sustainable future. We interviewed five climate and labor activists organizing at the intersection of these two vital movements to see what their thoughts were on what each could learn from each other, and why a new generation sees opportunities to work together for a greener, more solidaristic future.

Philip Bennett

Former President and Cofounder of the Congressional Workers' Union

Philip Bennett cofounded the first union on Capitol Hill, and organizes for the climate in his free time. He highlights where the labor and climate movements can learn from each other.
Emphasize all the intersections that labor has with environmental and racial justice

Ben Davis

Policy Advisor with the BlueGreen Alliance

I see a burgeoning sense of solidarity across the climate movement, the labor movement, and all progressive fronts
Ben Davis has organized for a sustainable future since his college days. He shares his thoughts on how solidarity across movements is key.

Kat Maier

Organizer and Co-National Coordinator with Fridays for Future US

Kat Maier became a climate activist through coincidence - she was shocked to learn the state of the environment. She emphasizes that climate and labor need to work together.
I started understanding the root causes of climate change and how the same systems that led to this crisis have caused so many of our other societal injustices

William Schwartz

Workforce Development, Sustainability, and Climate Justice Organizer

Small steps positively impact your mental well-being, and your communities, as well as, making significant challenges appear more manageable
Will Schwartz saw how we are destroying our environment for short-term profit and decided to do something. He explains why inclusivity is vital for social movements.

Oscar Villalobos

Green New Deal for DC Coordinator

Oscar started his activism in 2020, focusing on local changes that help his community - and where the impacts are more personally felt.
If we truly want to move on from an extractive economy we will need the full might of the workforce