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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.

NYS Passes Labor Standards on Clean Energy Work

solar panels upstate

“NY is the first state in the country to pass a comprehensive suite of labor standards on clean energy work,” says Lara Skinner, Director of the Labor Leading on Climate Initiative at the Worker Institute at Cornell ILR School, “This is a huge victory for New York workers and communities.”

In April, the New York State legislatures reached an agreement on a $212 billion budget.  Most notably, the budget bill passed by NYS includes: prevailing wage and project labor agreement requirements for construction on renewable-energy projects that are 5 megawatts or larger, a requirement that covered projects buy American steel and iron where feasible, and more. The budget contains important incentives to source wind turbine manufacturing in-state and that New York State is leveraging its investment to jump-start an in-state green manufacturing supply chain.

Climate Jobs NY (CJNY), a coalition of 2.6 million union members, was instrumental in pushing for these labor agreement requirements and we applaud all of their hard work,” says Skinner.

The full budget bill passed includes: Prevailing wage and project labor agreement requirements for construction on renewable-energy projects that are 5 megawatts or larger; For operations and maintenance work, a requirement that system owners on projects 5 megawatts and larger enter into labor peace agreements; A requirement that covered projects buy American steel and iron where feasible; Provisions to incentivize procurement of New York State renewable energy equipment and supplies.

“CJNY was also instrumental in securing $500k for our Labor Leading on Climate work in the NYS budget,” says Skinner. “We are excited to continue our work in the years to come and push for action at the scale the climate crisis demands while lifting up family-sustaining, community-supporting union jobs.”