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Labor Leading on Climate Initiative

Union woman worker wearing a hard hat and standing in front of solar panels

The Labor Leading on Climate Initiative advances knowledge, policies, and practices to enhance the role of labor and working people in addressing the environmental and climate crises.

Watch Lara Skinner discuss her work which helped spark the formation of Climate Jobs New York (CJNY).

2021 Climate Jobs Summit
September 21, 2021 I 9:30 AM - 4 PM

 

The Climate Jobs Summit on September 21, 2021, will bring together newly established state Climate Jobs coalitions, labor leaders, union climate activists, environmental and environmental justice advocates, clean-energy developers, policymakers, scientists, and all who want to build the clean-energy economy of tomorrow with good union jobs. The Summit will feature speakers and panelists from around the country and around the world.
 
At a time that calls for public investment on a scale not seen since the Great Depression, let’s invest in the clean energy economy of the future, assure that the new clean energy jobs hire union workers, take climate action at a scale science demands and address the crisis of extreme inequality.

 

RSVP HERE
Several workers in clean energy
RSVP HERE

UN calls IPCC climate report ‘code red for humanity’ -- how an equitable, resilient, climate jobs movement can save us

Cornell’s Labor Leading on Climate research team addresses findings from the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report and highlights the opportunity for workers and their unions to tackle climate change and reverse inequality through high-quality, union job creation.
It Takes Work
UN calls IPCC climate report ‘code red for humanity’ -- how an equitable, resilient, climate jobs movement can save us

Offshore Wind Training Delivered to Communications Workers of America (CWA) Members across New York State

Zach Cunningham of the Worker Institute’s Labor Leading on Climate Initiative, in partnership with Climate Jobs NY, delivered a virtual training for Communications Workers of America (CWA) members across New York State.
Jamboard on What do you know about climate change?
Offshore Wind Training Delivered to Communications Workers of America (CWA) Members across New York State

Combatting Climate Change, Reversing Inequality: A Climate Jobs Program for Texas

The Worker Institute’s Labor Leading on Climate launches report that examines the crises of inequality and climate change in Texas and makes a series of “climate jobs” recommendations that can help Texas simultaneously combat climate change, create high-quality jobs, and build more equitable and resilient communities.
Tx Report
Combatting Climate Change, Reversing Inequality: A Climate Jobs Program for Texas

Labor in the Time of Trump

This chapter outlines approaches to three major tensions that must be addressed to build a pro-­ union climate movement.
Labor in the Time of Trump Cover
Labor in the Time of Trump

Transitioning to a 21st Century Energy System

A Workforce – Focused White Paper on Just Transition from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers of New York State
Power Plant
Transitioning to a 21st Century Energy System

Reversing Inequality, Combatting Climate Change

In 2017 the Worker Institute at Cornell University’s ILR School published the report, “Reversing Inequality, Combatting Climate Change: A Climate Jobs Program for New York State."
Reversing Inequality Cover
Reversing Inequality, Combatting Climate Change

Education and Training

The Labor Leading on Climate Initiative works with our partners to design and deliver training for union members on climate change and clean energy.

Our training provides affiliate leaders and members with the knowledge, confidence and motivation to participate in key debates and decision-making processes on climate protection and energy policy.  Our objective is to build a robust, equitable clean energy economy both locally and nationwide.

Union construction workers
Educational Resources

In addition to our workshops, we have developed written materials to help you learn about climate change and clean energy, talk with coworkers about these topics, and explore different union-led campaigns to create green, union jobs.

Explore our educational resources
Explore our educational resources
Trainings

This past winter, the Labor Leading on Climate Initiative launched its newly-developed “Climate Jobs and Offshore Wind (OSW)” training in partnership with Climate Jobs NY - a coalition of 2.6 million members. 

We look forward to continuing this work and expanding it into other states, in the upcoming years.

Find out more about our trainings
Union members listening to Offshore Wind training presentation
Find out more about our trainings

Student Engagement

The Worker Institute's Labor Leading on Climate Initiative is committed to engaging Cornell ILR undergraduate and graduate students through our courses, research fellowships, and graduate programs.

Learn more about our work with students.
Wide shot of ILR Building in Ithaca, NY
Learn more about our work with students.

Alex Foley

Alex Foley, BSILR '22, details his research project on green hydrogen production in the United States as part of a larger project within the Labor Leading on Climate Initiative.
Alex Foley
Alex Foley

Scott Siegel

Scott Siegel, BSILR ‘24, discusses his summer project and how he was able to apply his ILR studies to his project.
Scott Siegel
Scott Siegel

Nathan Lamm

Nathan Lamm, BSILR '22, shares his summer experience with working with the Labor Leading on Climate team.
Nathan Lamm
Nathan Lamm

Join us for the Virtual Climate Jobs Summit 2021

The Climate Jobs Summit on September 21, 2021, will bring together newly established state Climate Jobs coalitions, labor leaders, union climate activists, environmental and environmental justice advocates, clean-energy developers, policymakers, educators, scientists, and all who want to build the clean-energy economy of tomorrow with good union jobs.
Collage of Workers in Clean Energy
Join us for the Virtual Climate Jobs Summit 2021

Skinner Wins Award

Labor Leading on Climate Director Lara Skinner will be recognized Sept. 21 for helping make New York City a model of progress for the nation.
Lara Skinner
Skinner Wins Award

Skinner Speaks at the Canadian Labour Congress Convention

Lara Skinner, Director of the Worker Institute’s Labor Leading on Climate program, will participate in the panel session “A Climate Action Agenda” at the June 10th Canadian Labour Congress Convention
Canadian Labour Logo
Skinner Speaks at the Canadian Labour Congress Convention

In the News

See all news stories

'Everyone Wants a Good Job': The Texas Unions Fighting for a Green New Deal

At the Texas AFL-CIO’s annual convention on July 27th, 121 unions voted in favor of a resolution for a green jobs plan. The proposal was written by the Texas Climate Jobs Project, a project of the state labor federation and Cornell University’s Worker Institute in consultation with 27 unions statewide.
'Everyone Wants a Good Job': The Texas Unions Fighting for a Green New Deal

Why Texas fossil fuel unions signed onto a climate plan

Grist logo
Skinner, Labor Leading on Climate Director, says “there’s been a real focus on the carbon impact of proposals and not enough emphasis on what type of jobs are these activities going to create, what are the quality of these jobs, are they actually going to help reverse inequality.”
Why Texas fossil fuel unions signed onto a climate plan

Canary in the Mine: Striking Miners in Alabama

The American Prospect logo
The UMWA local in Alabama has been on a five-month strike against Warrior Met Coal. Zach Cunningham, from the Worker Institute’s Labor Leading on Climate, proposes focusing on making the transition to renewable-energy sources one that provides good-paying jobs, rather than a narrative of “good jobs versus the environment.”
Canary in the Mine: Striking Miners in Alabama

Our Partner

Climate Jobs Resource Center Logo

The Worker Institute's Labor Leading on Climate Initiative is the university partner of the Climate Jobs National Resource Center (CJNRC).

The Initiative provides research, education and training programs to unions on climate change and clean energy across multiple U.S. states.

As in New York, this work will help unions proactively and positively engage in climate change and clean energy work and forge a stronger link in the public discourse between the crises of inequality and climate change. 

About the Initiative

Find out more about the Initiative

The Labor Leading on Climate Initiative at the Worker Institute advances knowledge, policies, and practices to enhance the role of labor and working people in addressing the environmental and climate crises.

Labor has an important reframing of this issue: we have two crises, not one. A crisis of climate change and a crisis of inequality and we need solutions that address both. Solutions to the climate crisis cannot exacerbate the crisis of inequality by creating low-wage, low-quality jobs; Addressing climate change needs to reverse inequality by creating high-wage, family and communities sustaining union jobs. The initiative's efforts focus on building a truly sustainable society and economy.

 

Faculty, Staff and Fellows

  • Director, Labor Leading on Climate Initiative

  • Fellow, The Worker Institute
  • Assistant Professor, Urban and Environmental Policy, Occidental College

  • Education and Training Extension Associate

  • Program Administrative Assistant

  • Communication Specialist

  • Research and Policy Development Extension Associate

  • Senior Project Administrator

  • Research and Policy Development Extension Associate