Trade Union Climate Summit:

A Discussion on Global and National Actions

Trade Union Climate Summit: A Discussion on Global and National Actions2016-11-01T02:27:26+00:00

June 29th, 2015, New York City

A 75-person one-day Trade Union Climate Summit will convene in New York City on June 29th at 32BJ SEIU, 25 West 18th Street, New York, NY. The summit is being organized by the International Program on Labor Climate and Environment at The Murphy Institute, CUNY.

In December 2015, the “last chance” UN climate talks (COP 21) will take place in Paris. But the prospects of an effective agreement are poor. The climate movement is presently making plans for a major people’s mobilization to coincide with the Paris meeting.

The June 29th summit will bring together unions from the U.S. and 12 other countries for a day of discussion on the Paris talks and related actions; the international trade union movement’s program and strategy and the need to confront the ‘energy and climate emergency,’ and to hear how unions are linking climate protection to the anti-austerity and equality movements that are gaining momentum in different countries. Particular attention will be directed towards struggles taking place around energy, climate and environment in ‘carbon battleground’ countries, notably the U.S. and Canada.

One of the goals of the summit is to help further develop a progressive U.S. trade union climate protection agenda that is independent, science-based, economically transformative, and capable of moving union members into action.

Union leaders and staff working on climate change will attend the summit from: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, France, Greece, India, Italy, Norway, Korea, Peru, the Philippines, Spain and the United States.

Organized by:

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In partnership with:

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The summit will be organized around six distinct and consecutive discussions:


The Road to Paris: Perspectives on International Labor’s Program and Strategy

Part 1:  Unions, the Paris climate talks, and the “inside-outside” approach

Are the December 2015 talks the last chance for the UN to produce an effective global agreement? What do unions and their allies want or expect from the Paris meetings and actions?

Facilitator: David Boys, Deputy General Secretary, Public Services International

Maite Llanos, Trade Unions for Energy Democracy, summary of the COP 21 preparations.

Fabienne Cru-Montblanc, National Executive Committee, Confédération générale du travail (CGT),France, with Marie-Christine Naillod, Policy Advisor, CGT, on the perspective of French unions leading into the Paris talks

Part 2: Connecting the climate fight to the struggle against austerity and inequality: opportunities in Southern Europe

Could the recent rise of the left in Greece and Spain help ‘energy democracy’ and climate protection become central to the anti-austerity agenda of unions across Europe?

Facilitator: Chris Baugh, Asst. General Secretary, Public and Commercial Services Union, UK

Yiorgos Archontopoulos, President, EYATH’s Union (Thessaloniki water workers), Greece

Fatima Aguado Queipo, International Secretary, and Francisco Javier Cabezos Rubio, Secretary of Workers Health, Environment and Public Sector, Federación de Servicios a la Ciudadania – Comisiones Obreras (FSC-CC.OO) Spain

Simona Fabiani, Responsible for Environment and Land, Confederazione Generale del Lavoro (CGIL),Italy

Part 3: North- South trade union perspectives on the need for a ‘programmatic shift’

Making the case for a bold and transformative trade union program to address the social and ecological crisis.

Facilitator: Alana Dave, Education Director, International Transport Workers Federation

Josua Mata, Secretary General, SENTRO-Alliance of Progressive Labor, Philippines

Diego Azzi, Advisor, Central Unica dos Trabalhadores (CUT), Brazil

Asbjorn Wahl, International Advisor, Union of Municipal and General Employees, Norway, and Trade Union Network for Europe


Carbon Battlegrounds: Canada and the United States

Part 1: Power shift in Canada: Unions, ‘extreme energy’ and the rising movement for a truly sustainable future

Inspired by the recent election results in Alberta, and the rise of the indigenous and student movements, unions are challenging the oil industry and its allies in new and creative ways.

Facilitator: Sari Sairanen, Director of Health and Safety, UNIFOR, Canada

Donald Lafleur, Executive Vice President, Canadian Labor Congress (CLC)

Confédération des syndicats nationaux (CSN-Quebec) – to be confirmed

Part 2: U.S. Labor’s changing climate politics and the implications for organizing and membership engagement

Key unions in the U.S. have formed a formidable political alliance with the oil, coal and gas industries. But important voices in  U.S. labor are articulating an approach to climate change that is science-based, internationalist, economically transformative, and able to inspire and move union members.

Facilitator: Sean Sweeney, Director, International Program for Labor, Climate & Environment, Murphy Center, CUNY.

Estela Vazquez, Executive Vice President, 1199 SEIU Healthcare Workers East

Fernando Losada, Collective Bargaining Director, National Nurses United

Judy Sheridan-Gonzalez, President, NYS Nurses Association

Christopher Erikson, Business Manager, Local 3, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers

Part 3: Beyond ‘Blockadia’: Building a new ‘socio-ecological’ mass movement

Resistance to the expansion of fossil fuel use is rising globally and becoming increasingly intense–especially around fracking, tar sands, and coal. Meanwhile, Naomi Klein’s new book This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs.The Climate points to the systemic roots of the crisis and the need for ‘deep social change’ grounded in ‘reciprocity and cooperation.’ Can such a narrative help address our own ‘ambition deficit’ and inspire the next great movement?

Comments from US based movement leaders:

Faciliator: Lenore Friedlaender, Assistant to the President, SEIU 32BJ

Denise Fairchild, President and CEO, Emerald Cities Collaborative

 Jacqui Patterson, Director, NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program

 Bill Fletcher Jr., Host, Global African

 Dean Hubbard, Director, Sierra Club Labor Programs