Trade Unions for Energy Democracy (TUED) is a growing global network of unions and close allies working to advance democratic control and social ownership of energy, in ways that promote solutions to the climate crisis, address energy poverty, resist the degradation of both land and people, and respond to the attacks on workers’ rights and protections.
Established in late 2012, TUED has grown to span dozens of trade unions, labor federations and social movement and policy allies from countries around the world, both North and South. The current list of participating unions and other organizations is here.
We Are All Energy Unions Now
Struggles over energy are proliferating globally, and the health and climate impacts of energy decisions affect all workers and their families and communities. There is no travel ban on greenhouse gas emissions, which means that burning coal, gas and oil anywhere in the world has an impact on the atmosphere we all share.
Many unions want to do more about the climate crisis, but do not know how to engage. Locked in day-to-day struggles, many unions in the energy sector or energy-intensive industries are working hard to protect their members at a time when there are few acceptable alternatives to the jobs they currently perform. Unions operating outside the energy sector—the overwhelming majority—often have little or no experience or capacity to address energy-related issues, and thus their voice is muted and their actions often limited. TUED’s role is to bring unions from all sectors together so that we can collectively find a way to become strong, independent agents of progressive change.
For a summary of TUED’s work in 2017 please see this four-minute video.
For the latest TUED updates, please see here.
Our Unique Role
From its inception, TUED has carried out hard-hitting research, analysis and consultation, with the aim of helping unions, individually and collectively, to formulate a strong and independent voice on energy transition and climate change—a voice that is firmly grounded in the facts and resolute about defending workers’ interests and building a better world.
Informed by this work, TUED and its participating unions are actively working at international, regional, national and local levels to protect the interests of workers and their communities, to advance a vision for energy and climate protection rooted in the public good, and to build political support across the 200-million strong global labor movement for a just transition to democratically accountable renewable energy systems. Such a transition needs to address the immediate concerns of workers in a way that can advance the extension of social ownership and democratic control of energy as part of a broad, inclusive, and vibrant social movement.
Research: Building an Independent Voice
TUED publishes a series of Working Papers that look closely at the scientific data and the political realities, to help unions formulate a strong, independent voice on urgent questions of energy and climate.
Recent papers have argued that the current, profit-focused approach to scaling up renewable energy is failing, that we need urgently to pursue public alternatives, and that this has implications for how we should understand and pursue a “just transition” for workers and the planet. For the full list of working papers, please see here.
Why We Need Union Support
TUED requires union funding to take this important work forward. Financial support from unions is crucial not only operationally for the continued functioning of the project, but also politically, in order to be able, where appropriate, to speak forcefully alongside unions in struggles and campaigns around energy, climate justice, and the fight for viable pro-public alternatives.
During its start-up phase, TUED has received crucial support from a few progressive foundations, aimed at helping TUED achieve sustainability based on union funding alone. That foundation funding is increasingly difficult to secure—thus the need for a higher level of union support simply to sustain the project at its current level. A growing number of unions make annual commitments, and the aim is for the project to become sustainably financed by union contributions alone.