As the U.S. looks to shift from the fossil fuel industry to build a clean energy economy, labor organizations are looking for ways to include fossil fuel workers in the new green economy.
Many Laborers International Union of North America (LiUNA) members work in the energy sector, and they want to be involved in green energy. LiUNA Minnesota and North Dakota Marketing Manager Kevin Pranis joined AWF Union Podcast to discuss green energy and more.
Investing in green energy jobs
One of the major sticking points against moving away from fossil fuels is the amount of jobs that may be lost. While Pranis said this is concerning, there are also ways to make up for the losses through training existing energy workers.
The biggest concern with the shift to green energy is how it will affect local economies. These jobs can be beneficial if they remain local. However, many fossil fuel jobs in North Dakota are already taken by out-of-state workers.
Thankfully, Pranis said he has been appointed to Minnesota’s Advisory Council on Climate Change. From here he will be able to advocate for LiUNA members working in the energy sector.
What LiUNA Minnesota and North Dakota does
Pranis said his job boils down to three points. He works to support public investment in infrastructure, raise the standards of the construction industry and advance the clean energy industry.
He stressed that any jobs created need to be local. LiUNA has worked hard in Minnesota to ensure local labor is used on energy projects, but North Dakota is still lagging. He said a large amount of work on energy projects in North Dakota comes from Texas and other states, harming the local economy.
Moving forward, Pranis hopes to see LiUNA members handle the clean energy projects of the future.