Improving building insulation fights climate change, saves money

The U.S. Energy Information Administration reports buildings account for roughly 40 percent of energy consumption in the U.S.

According to numerous studies, improved insulation is the most cost effective and efficient approach to improve energy efficiency in buildings, and slow climate change.

Pete Ielmini, Executive Director of the Mechanical Insulators Labor Management Cooperative Trust (LMCT), joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss climate change and how mechanical insulation can cut greenhouse gas emissions and save money, effectively paying for itself within six months to two years. Continue reading

Harvard students push university to divest from fossil fuels

After nearly a decade of protests and two faculty votes, Harvard University announced this month it would begin to divest its multibillion dollar endowment from fossil fuels. The university pledged to make the endowment greenhouse-gas-neutral by 2050.

Ilana Cohen, a Harvard junior and contributor to The Nation Magazine, joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss the student and faculty campaign to push Harvard to divest from fossil fuels. Continue reading

Refinery to hire non-union workers for turnaround

For generations, the Lima Refinery routinely relied on Local Union workers for its annual maintenance turnaround — repairing and replacing worn out parts, pumps and equipment to ensure the plant continues production and avoids costly shutdowns.

In operation for over 135 years, the Ohio plant was acquired by Canadian-based Cenovus Energy in January. The new owners told building trades leaders they planned to bring in 3,000 out-of-town non-union workers to do the turnaround — an unprecedented move considering multiple generations of union families in Lima have consistently performed the turnaround work. Continue reading

Wind energy to create millions of good-paying union jobs with U.S. manufactured steel

Wind energy could generate 3.3 million jobs over the next five years, according to analysis from the Global Wind Energy Council.

President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda calls for the installation of 30 gigawatts of offshore wind power by 2030, triggering $12 billion per year in capital investment in projects on both U.S. coasts, creating tens of thousands of union jobs. The move would employ more than 44,000 workers in offshore wind by 2030 and nearly 33,000 additional jobs in communities supported by offshore wind activity.

John Shinn, International Secretary-Treasurer of the United Steelworkers, joined America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss what an investment in wind power will do for American workers and why using American steel is critical to making the most of that investment. Continue reading

Green energy creates union jobs to address climate change

Climate change is drastically impacting our economy, but it is simultaneously ushering in unprecedented opportunities. While many good paying middle class jobs in oil, gas and coal are being phased out, new careers in wind, solar and other renewable energy sectors are emerging.

Workers can take advantage of the opportunities resulting from this transformation.

Secretary-Treasurer of the Texas AFL-CIO, Leonard Aguilar, joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss the Texas Climate Jobs Project — an initiative to help workers better embrace the opportunities of renewable energy — as well as the political climate of Texas as politicians and health officials grapple with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Continue reading

Ohio legislature passes broadband expansion after multiple attempts

The definition of infrastructure has broadened as new technologies have been introduced over the years. Broadband is a fairly new technology that was proven necessary during the COVID-19 pandemic, but remains inaccessible to many Americans.

Ohio Consumers’ Counsel Senior Outreach and Educational Specialist Andrew Tinkham joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss legislation to hold utility companies accountable for taking advantage of consumers. He also updated listeners on the progress of broadband expansion funding in Ohio. Continue reading

Educating end users on the importance of mechanical insulation

Educating business owners and other decision makers is vital to the success of the mechanical insulation industry. Without knowledge of the many benefits of mechanical insulation, it is difficult for a project owner to invest in the technology.

The Mechanical Insulators Labor Management Cooperative Trust (LMCT) works to advance the industry. Mechanical Insulators LMCT Executive Director Pete Ielmini joined the AWF Union Podcast to preview a new course designed to educate end users about the value of properly installed and maintained mechanical insulation. Continue reading

Mechanical insulators look ahead to clean energy work

As the U.S. begins the gradual shift away from fossil fuels towards cleaner energy sources, building trades unions are working to make sure their members are trained to work on these new technologies to ensure they have future work.

Mechanical insulators stand to gain a great amount of work, as their trade deals directly with energy conservation. Mechanical Insulators Labor Management Cooperative Trust (LMCT) Deputy Director Gina Walsh detailed her career for AWF Union Podcast listeners. She also explained how mechanical insulators can lead the way in energy conservation. Continue reading

St. Paul refinery workers remain locked out following short strike

Industrial work is some of the most difficult and dangerous work in the U.S. The training and safety precautions needed to work in a safe manner are great, but some companies are not meeting their responsibility of providing a safe work environment.

Workers at one Marathon refinery were recently locked out after demonstrating a one-day strike. Teamsters Local 120 Chief Union Steward Dean Benson joined AWF Union Podcast to discuss the strike, the lockout, what the workers need to work safely and more. Continue reading

Enbridge Line 5 continues production despite threats from Gov. Whitmer

While the U.S. seeks to shift away from fossil fuels, the move must be made over time. Issues with the immediate shutdown of pipelines are rising and politicians are at a crossroads of protecting the environment and protecting jobs.

United Steelworkers Local 912 President Justin Donley is fighting to protect the work of his members at the Toledo Refinery in Toledo, Ohio, which processes light sweet crude from Enbridge Line 5. Donley joined the AWF Union Podcast to discuss this ongoing issue and what it would do to certain regional economies in the midwest. Continue reading