Vistra Coal Power Plant Closures Spur Need for Just Transition for Workers, Communities

Springfield, Ill. — Climate Jobs Illinois today called for creating a just transition for workers and local communities impacted by anticipated coal plant closures, citing Vistra’s announcement this morning that it will shutter the remainder of its Illinois facilities by 2028. 

“As Springfield debates new energy legislation, the final bill must include meaningful policies that support the workers, families and communities affected by Illinois’ transition to clean energy,” said Nikki Budzinski, executive director of Climate Jobs Illinois. That means providing workers lost wages and benefits, meaningful job support and apprenticeship opportunities, and replacing the lost tax base in these communities. Climate Jobs Illinois will be an advocate for these issues to ensure workers are not left behind in the state’s move to a clean energy future.”

As it advocates for Illinois moving to a clean-energy future, Climate Jobs Illinois—which is independent of energy developers and utilities—is focused on supporting workers in this transition. In Illinois, there are currently 142 coal, oil, gas and nuclear plants in operation that employ 45,000 workers and generate billions of dollars in tax revenue for local communities. Transitioning to low-carbon clean energy electrical power generation will have significant labor, employment and community impacts that need to be carefully considered.

Climate Jobs Illinois represents hundreds of thousands of Illinois working men and women who are best suited to build Illinois’ new clean-energy economy from the ground up. By advocating for bold clean energy investments with comprehensive labor standards, including prevailing wage, apprenticeship requirements, labor peace agreements, project labor agreements and responsible bidder requirements, Climate Jobs Illinois is working to ensure these jobs create more pathways to the middle class, especially for communities disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change. 

Governing Board leadership for Climate Jobs Illinois include:

Illinois AFL-CIO President and Chair Tim Drea, Illinois Secretary Treasurer Pat Devaney, Chicago Federation of Labor President Bob Reiter and Chicago & Cook County Building & Construction Trades Council President Ralph Affrunti.  Executive Committee members of Climate Jobs Illinois are: Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers State Council, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 134, International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150, International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers Union, Laborers International Union of North America Midwest Region, Laborers International Union of North America Great Lakes Region, Service Employees International Union Local 1 and United Auto Workers Region 4.

To learn more about CJI, visit or follow CJI at @ClimateJobsIL on Twitter or join its Facebook page