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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).

Climate Jobs and Just Transition Summit

September 21, 2021

Climate Jobs 2021 Save the Date

The Climate Jobs and Just Transition Virtual 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.

We will talk about the ways that climate change and inequality are inextricably linked, dig into the once-in-a-generation opportunity to create good family-sustaining jobs by developing the renewable energy sector, and engage in a holistic discussion about just transition for workers in fossil fuel industries and their communities.
 
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. 

Labor Changes the Climate: New Policies Move States Forward

The Worker Institute’s Labor Leading on Climate team surveys various state-level efforts to tackle climate change with high-quality, union job creation.
Labor Changes the Climate
Labor Changes the Climate: New Policies Move States Forward

Cunningham Facilitates Climate Jobs and Offshore Wind Training

Worker Institute Extension Associate Zach Cunningham delivers virtual training to staff and member-leaders from NYSNA and Locals 1199 and 32BJ.
OSW Training
Cunningham Facilitates Climate Jobs and Offshore Wind Training

Labor Standards Can Help Us Build Back Better

The Worker Institute's Labor Leading on Climate team examines the American Jobs Plan and explains why the built-in labor standards are critical to the proposal’s success.
Labor Standards
Labor Standards Can Help Us Build Back Better

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 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.
A student walking down the steps outside Ives Hall
Learn more about our work with students.

In the News

See all news stories

DOE's Granholm highlights need for 'place-based' climate investments

S&P Global News
U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm requested Lara Skinner's research on renewable energy labor standards as a possible model for the federal government,
U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm
DOE's Granholm highlights need for 'place-based' climate investments

Skinner Appears on City & State’s 2021 New York State Labor Power 100

Lara Skinner, Director of the Worker Institute’s Labor Leading on Climate, makes the 2021 New York State Labor Power 100.
Profile Pic
Skinner Appears on City & State’s 2021 New York State Labor Power 100

Cunningham Facilitates UALE Workshop

Cunningham co-facilitates “Popular Education in a Virtual World” workshop at the United Association for Labor Education’s virtual conference
Uale logo
Cunningham Facilitates UALE Workshop

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

  • Research and Policy Development Extension Associate

  • Program Administrative Assistant

  • Research Assistant

  • Communication Specialist

  • Research and Policy Development Extension Associate

  • Senior Project Administrator