Thursday, March 26, 2009

Steelworkers Get Behind Green Jobs

Following up to yesterday's post on green jobs and green unions, check out this amazing op-ed in today's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, a joint effort from the president of the United Steelworkers of America and a top Gamesa official:
In early 2005, Gamesa, a Spanish wind-technology corporation, located its first North American plant just outside Pittsburgh. The company has since expanded its Pennsylvania presence to include a Philadelphia headquarters and a second plant in Fairless Hills. Gamesa has invested more than $200 million and sustained 1,000 well-paid, career-track, green jobs in the state since January 2005 despite market swings due to the recent global credit crisis.

It was no coincidence that Gamesa chose to locate its facilities in Pennsylvania. State and local government officials, workforce-development groups and organized labor set the stage with a ready market and resources to attract the company's investments. Pennsylvania's landmark state policy requiring 18 percent of the state's electricity to come from renewable sources by 2021 was a major factor in creating a favorable economic environment for the wind turbines that Gamesa produces.

Key to Gamesa's success in Pennsylvania has been its innovative partnership with the United Steelworkers of America. We are proud to be at the forefront of America's new energy economy, creating sustainable power and family-sustaining jobs with benefits.

Our successful partnership in the state rebuts what, until recently, had been the conventional wisdom that enacting strong environmental standards would require economic sacrifices
. Together, Gamesa and the United Steelworkers have proven that policies to curb CO2 emissions and invest in clean energy can help turn Pennsylvania, a state once plagued by economic demise and plant closings, into a national model of how to rebuild our economy and create high-paying, secure jobs for the future.

Why not Virginia, too? The only thing standing in our way is the political leadership to make it happen.

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