School districts, towns, others also signal support
Springfield, Ill. — An influential statewide organization today endorsed Climate Jobs Illinois’ package of policy recommendations to save or create up to 280,000 jobs and transition Illinois to a 100-percent clean energy economy by 2050. The Fair Assessment Information Resource Committee (FAIRCOM) wrote a letter backing the labor coalition’s package for putting working families and local communities first.
“We believe that the Climate Jobs Illinois’ 10-point policy agenda is a critical plan to address some of the state’s most pressing challenges, especially income inequality and economic development that will fight the looming threat of climate change,” FAIRCOM wrote. “In particular, we strongly support the coalition’s proposal to stabilize the state’s nuclear fleet and build more solar and wind generation.”
Schools, local governments and other municipal groups that wrote to state legislators in support of the package include: Seneca Community Consolidated School District #170, Seneca Township High School, Coal City Community Unit School District #1, Reed-Custer Community Unit School District 255U, The Byron Community Unit School District, the Byron Board of Education, the City of Oregon, Godley Public Water District and the Byron Fire Protection District.
Clean energy generation—whether wind, solar or nuclear—provide significant tax revenue that funds schools, roads, libraries, water and sewer and first responder services. As the groups wrote, “the six plants in the state’s nuclear fleet alone … continue providing more than $125 million in tax revenue to the state of Illinois … And the state’s nascent wind generation industry has created 9,000 direct jobs and in 2019 generated $49 million in state and local tax payments. Similarly, the Illinois solar industry employs more than 5,500 workers and provides millions in tax revenue.”
Last month, the Illinois Federation of Teachers joined the coalition strongly in support of CJI’s Carbon Free Schools initiative. Taxpayers would save money through building efficiency upgrades and through an “ownership model,” with school districts owning the solar arrays themselves, allowing the energy savings to be realized immediately.
The set of recommendations from CJI—which is independent of energy developers and utilities—comprise four main sectors: carbon-free power generation, just transition & equity, building efficiency and transportation. CJI’s plan offers a large-scale but practical blueprint for investing in clean-energy infrastructure that simultaneously maximizes emissions reductions to address the climate crisis and create or sustain union jobs and apprentice programs in areas hit hard by the current economic crisis as well as by historic underfunding.
Climate Jobs Illinois represents the hundreds of thousands of Illinois working men and women who are best suited to build Illinois’ new clean-energy economy from the ground up. The organization’s Governing Board includes Illinois AFL-CIO President and Chair Tim Drea, Illinois AFL-CIO 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, Illinois Federation of Teachers, International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers Union, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers State Council, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 134, International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150, Laborers International Union of North America Great Lakes Region, Laborers International Union of North America Midwest Region, Service Employees International Union State Council and United Auto Workers Region 4.
Climate Jobs Illinois is a state affiliate of the Climate Jobs National Resource Center. CJI has partnered with The Project for Middle Class Renewal at UIUC, Illinois Economic Policy Institute and Cornell University Worker Institute.
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.
To learn more, visit https://climatejobsillinois.org, and follow CJI at @ClimateJobsIL on Twitter or join its Facebook page.