( – promoted by lowkell)
The Sierra Club is often times asked why we get involved with issues involving labor unions. Many elected officials think that we make odd bedfellows, or simply don’t believe there is a connection between the environment and workers.
One such case occurred with legislation in the Virginia General Assembly this session that dealt with regulation of the telecomm industry. The legislation, patroned by Delegate Tim Hugo (R) and Senator Dick Saslaw (D), was packaged as allowing telecomm companies to more easily use the innovations of the 21st Century.
The Sierra Club was concerned about the legislation because it makes it easier for companies like Verizon or AT&T to avoid running a hard wire into homes and businesses. The hard wire allows faster internet speeds, and is more reliable than wireless technologies in the more rural parts of the Commonwealth.
Here’s where the environment comes in. When internet speeds are faster people can telecommute. When people telecommute it means we reduce vehicle miles traveled and reduce our use of fossil fuels. Not too hard of a concept to grasp, but apparently the patrons couldn’t get it.
So, what did Delegate Hugo and Senator Saslaw do? They lashed out, and told us we were out of line, and this doesn’t impact the environment which brings us all the way back around.
When elected officials threaten worker’s rights, the ability of the workforce to organize, they are not just doing it for innovation or the bottom-line. They are attacking justice. I work for an environmental organization because the environment has no voice. My friends who are organizers in the labor community do so to make sure the workers have a voice.
We’re both connected by one thing, justice.
Dr. King was right when he said an “injustice anywhere, is a threat to justice everywhere.” The Sierra Club will continue to stand with workers so that we can protect their rights. We will fight back against corporate greed, and we will campaign against the corporate shills in the Virginia legislature.
The effort in Wisconsin, and the subsequent rallies in Virginia, is about more than standing up to one governor pushing his extreme agenda. They are about making sure that the voices of the working class, impoverished, handicapped, and environment are heard.
We must ban together to move America in a new direction. We must fight back against the corporate control of our politics. The past three weeks in Wisconsin have been a spark. The kindling was added last week in Virginia and the rest of the country. Now, we must build a fire that will burn down the corporate structure that has become America.
For now is the time to rebuild our middle class, protect our environment and awaken America’s new day.