March 21, 2008 Volume 109 Number 6
Promoting ‘green collar’ jobs is focus of LERC’s new STAR Fund
Up to six union members will be taking a three-day field trip to California this summer to study local efforts to promote what are being called “green collar” jobs — jobs that come out of efforts to combat environmental ills like global warming. The trip comes thanks to a new fund set up by the Labor Education Research Center (LERC), the Strategic Training and Action Research (STAR) Fund.
It’s the fund’s first project, and dovetails closely with plans by LERC educator (and AFL-CIO secretary-treasurer) Barbara Byrd. Byrd wants to get Oregon labor leaders up to speed on global warming before next year’s session of the Oregon Legislature. That’s when state lawmakers will be debating how to curb greenhouse gas emissions that are contributing to global warming. Labor unions could help push to make sure tax-subsidized investments create living wage jobs — not just profits for eco-entrepreneurs.
The project is titled, “Just Transition: Developing a union approach to the challenge of global warming.” LERC will be accept applications until May 1. Union members whose applications are accepted will take part in extensive study prior to the field trip. Then they’ll travel to the San Francisco Bay area, where local unions have already been securing union jobs from local efforts to address global warming. Upon their return to Oregon, participants will spend time educating other union members.
The STAR Fund was begun with a $115,000 bequest from former Carpenters business agent Robert Uhrbrand and his wife Cloydene, a teacher. Leading up to LERC’s 30th anniversary celebration, LERC did fundraising to increase that endowment. LERC director Bob Bussel said the goal was $30,000; over $60,000 was raised.
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