America’s working families demand solutions, not cop-outs on climate
For SEIU and CWA members, our families and communities there is no question of whether climate change is real or not. We deal with the impact of climate change’s very real and present danger in our neighborhoods every day. For decades, the vast majority of experts have agreed that our communities are among those hurt the most. From catastrophic weather events — including Super Storm Sandy and other devastating hurricanes, drought, flooding and wildfires — to increased rates of asthma and diseases such as Zika virus and dengue fever, our communities are among those that most acutely feel climate change’s impact.
These forces wreak havoc on our lives and ability to provide for our families due to increased health-related calamities, financial stress and property damage. This is on top of the realities that working families already face in an economy that isn’t working for us: low wages, not enough hours, no paid sick leave, no pension, unaffordable healthcare, immigrant families living in fear of being ripped apart, and a broken economic system that favors corporations over working people.
Over the past several years, policymakers here at home and around the globe have enacted important protections to help clean up our air and water, and take steps to prevent climate change’s impact from worsening. The Clean Power Plan and Paris Climate Agreement are just two of the notable steps we have taken to mitigate the damage. Policies such as these mean our families have a chance at a healthier, safer future because large corporations that are in the business of pollution no longer have the unchecked ability to inflict toxins and poisons into our air and water. That progress, however, is now being threatened and we are going to hold the politicians responsible for that accountable.
SEIU 1199 member Almitra Yancey, a customer service liaison at Montefiore Health System in New York’s Hudson Valley, sees the impact that poor air quality has on a community when she commutes from Staten Island. Diesel trucks on the roads, power plants in the Bronx, and other pollution industries have helped cause some of the worst asthma rates in the nation. She is joining the People’s Climate March this Saturday because, as a mother of two, Yancey worries not only about her patients’ health, but her daughters’ too.
Vera Mikell, a CWA Local 2205 member, said the most recent National Climate Assessment report on how global warming will push our infrastructure to the breaking point really got her attention. “I live in Hampton Roads, Va., and we are surrounded by bridges and tunnels that would be affected. Climate is so much more than weather and temperatures. This march is an opportunity for me and many others to learn how else we can help,” she said.
From threatening to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement — composed by 200 countries at the United Nation’s 21st Conference of the Parties (COP) — to reducing harmful emissions that cause climate change, to throwing out rules requiring companies to report on emissions from their facilities, self-interested politicians are putting corporate interests above working people. By rigging the system in favor of corporate polluters, President Trump and his administration are killing new jobs and industries that could give communities the boost they need to thrive. Thankfully, working families are standing up and speaking out.
While greedy corporations continue to take advantage of working people by not paying a fair wage, cutting benefits and ignoring their impact on the environment, our children suffer from asthma attacks and our families rush to protect themselves from violent, extreme weather.
In the Trump administration’s first 100 days, they have found hundreds of ways to put corporations ahead of working families and justice. From pushing to take away working people’s ability to join together in unions for their own advantage to trying to eliminate healthcare for millions to pad insurance companies’ bottom line. Using deportation forces to break apart immigrant families so private prison corporations get richer and now allowing corporations that make big profits to go unchecked in their ability pollute our air and water at the expense of working families.
SEIU and CWA members aren’t standing by idly. We are joining together in hundreds of cities nationwide to speak out against President Trump and his administration’s cop-out on its responsibilities to us. We’re joining hands with other working people, environmental organizations and community partners to demand protections from toxic air and water for our communities, and for real action that stops climate change from getting worse.
Together, we can fix this broken system that puts corporate polluters before working families. Join us.