Climate Justice


The Climate Justice Work Group of UAW 4121 advances climate, social, and environmental justice policies at the UW, city, county and state levels; as a labor union, we work in solidarity and in coalition with organizations and frontline communities across Washington state to support a just transition to a regenerative and equitable economy.

We are: Early-career researchers, academics, educators, workers, both international and national, primarily living and working in neighborhoods around  Seattle, Tacoma, and Bothell, striving to achieve climate and environmental justice through advocacy, action, and solidarity.

As a working group, we hold the following values:

  • Environmental justice is at the forefront of our work. We recognize that environmental harms have disproportionately impacted BIPOC and low income communities and that we must tackle these systemic injustices in order to truly overcome the climate crisis.
  • We recognize and stand in solidarity with the tireless and continued environmental and social justice work of Indigenous, Black, and Brown communities across the globe that are on the frontlines of the climate crisis.
  • As union members we believe all workers, especially frontline workers and those in fossil fuel dependent industries, deserve access and training to meaningful work that provides thriving wages to support fulfilling lives.

Science is critical to identifying and informing the impacts of climate change and scientists must work with communities and government to inform evidence based labor and climate policy solutions honoring the Jemez Principles.

Get Involved!

During Spring quarter 2020 we’ll be meeting bi-weekly on Zoom. Dates TBD. We welcome new members, to join these meetings contact:

Short-term goals

  • COVID – 19 Solidarity
  • Inform the forthcoming City of Seattle Green New Deal policies and Ordinances.
  • Collaborate with the Climate Alliance for Jobs & Clean Energy and the Blue Green Alliance on policy goals for FY 2021-2022 at the State and Federal level.
  • Build support for local divestment campaigns such as Institutional Climate Action to advocate for all WA State public higher ed institutions to divest by 2025

Long-term goals

  • Organize and advocate for city, state and federal Green New Deal policies with local and state organizations and solidarity coalitions.
  • Collaborate with the Climate Alliance for Jobs & Clean Energy and the Washington BlueGreen Alliance on climate justice and just transition labor policies at the local, state and federal level.
  • Build support with other local groups working on climate justice issues, such as 350 WA, Sunrise Seattle, and Seattle Democratic Socialist Green New Deal/Ecosocialist Caucus.

Ongoing Work

  • COVID – 19 Solidarity: Resources and policy proposals to support front line workers and our local economy responding to the compounding crisis of the; for-profit medical system, economic inequality and the climate crisis.
  • Seattle Green New Deal
    • Environmental justice and racial justice must be the heart of Seattle’s Green New Deal.
    • All workers deserve a living wage and a safe, healthy work environment.
    • The climate crisis is a moral emergency.
    • Everyone has the right to clean air, clean water, healthy food, and a healthy environment.
    • Seattle’s Green New Deal must acknowledge that Seattle stands on stolen land.
  • Seattle Democratic Socialists – Green New Deal/ Ecosocialism Caucus
  • The Seattle Democratic Socialist -Green New Deal Ecosocialist Caucus has taken up the national DSA priority campaign to fight at the national, regional, & local levels for a radical GND that is aligned with the DSAEWG’s Guiding Principles to decarbonize all sectors of the U.S. economy by 2030.
  • The Buy Clean, Buy Fair bill would direct state agencies to consider suppliers’ greenhouse gas emissions and labor standards when purchasing structural materials for publicly-funded infrastructure projects. While the Buy Clean, Buy Fair did not pass during the 2020 WA Legislative session, our partners made great progress in growing the understanding of the need to account for carbon emissions and labor standards when purchasing structural materials for publicly-funded infrastructure and we are leading the conversation around public procurement nationally! This bill will be brought back up during the WA legislative session in 2021!
  • The Transportation for All bill would require new transportation investments and any transportation funding cuts to meet health, equity and environment metrics and goals did not pass in full during the 2020 WA Legislative session. However, we did get a budget proviso for the bill which directs WSDOT to pick two transportation projects to evaluate based on current transportation policy goals and the themes of health, accessibility, environmental justice, equity, and climate change. This is a huge success and shows how our coalition in a short period of time, helped change the conversation around how we need to equitably and sustainability invest in transportation in Washington state. This bill will be brought back up during the WA legislative session in 2021!
UAW 4121 members at the People's Climate March, October 2015. 

UAW 4121 members at the People’s Climate March, October 2015.

Past Work

  • Clean Energy Transformation Act – CETA (SB 5116, HB 1211) PASSED Supporting Washington’s clean energy economy and transitioning to a clean, affordable, and reliable energy utility sector.
  • Clean Buildings Act (SB 5293, HB 1257) PASSED Concerning energy efficiency, reducing greenhouse gases, creating jobs, and making buildings healthier places to live and work
  • The Healthy Environment for All (HEAL) Act (SB 5489, HB 2009) NOT PASSED Establishing a healthy environment for all by creating a definition of environmental justice, directing agencies to address environmental health disparities, and creating a task force.
  • Initiative 1631 NOT PASSED – A WA Carbon Fee ballot initiative which would have taxed the largest GreenHouse Gas Emitters in WA State and used that money to make investments in a clean and just transition for front line communities, workers in the fossil fuel economy, while protecting our ari, water and forest health. Sponsored by the Climate Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy