On April 27, Green Workers Alliance supporters joined us for an exciting reception at the Ford Foundation Center for Social Justice in New York. We heard from solar workers Serina Moreno, Josh Dixon and Felicia Allen about dire conditions in the sector and why they got involved in GWA to make change. Jose Garcia, the director of Ford Foundation's Future of Work(ers) program, and Tefere Gebre, chief program officer of Greenpeace USA, also joined us and shared inspiring remarks about the importance of worker organizing and building people power in this sector.
GWA is out here making a big day-to-day difference even if it doesn't make the news or isn't a big contract win. Not only are we out here fighting for better working conditions and more jobs, we are also helping change the toxic culture in the industry. As much as we need more wind and solar jobs to fight climate change, we also need to make sure we have strong worker power backing up the shift to clean energy.
Serina talked about the unfairness of having to train male workers who, despite having no experience, then became her supervisors. Even with this discouraging experience and pushback from management, she was never deterred from standing up for her co-workers. And the experience she gained through GWA gave her the tools to tell her own story--which she did to great effect in New York!
Felicia, a GWA fellow from Ohio, shared emotional remarks about her experiences in the industry, ending with a rousing call to action:
We will fight for better wages, better job practices, and fight for the necessary training us renewable workers so desperately need to advance in our careers. We will help lower our carbon footprint for future generations. If we can't lead the change the whole world needs, what message are we sending to our future generations? What will we be leaving them behind when we are gone? What will our legacies say about us if we won't fight for the greater good of our families, and our planet? I believe if there ever was a time to unite and stand for something that affects all of us in some way, that time is now.
The NYC reception was a great opportunity to share our work with allies. We built some really great connections with organizers doing amazing work and are excited to further those relationships and strengthen our collective organizing.