Last week, our Union met with the Governor's office before his announcement of $5 million from NYSERDA to be used as grants for communities that are affected by the closure of fossil fuel plants. It is anticipated that future grant money will also be available for a just transition for workers when more fossil fuel plants are closed. While this current grant does not affect any of our members, we support it and are happy to see the commitment to a just transition has begun by allowing communities affected by the shutdown of fossil fuel plants will have a chance to recover and improve their communities.
As New York transitions away from fossil fuels to more renewable energy sources, any plan must include the workforce that will be displaced and the communities that will be hurt. Job creation and transition for these workers and communities needs to be just as high a priority as creating a greener energy grid and this includes ensuring that current union jobs are not turned into non-union jobs in the renewable energy sector. While this $5 million investment in New York workers is a good first step, UWUA Local 1-2 will continue to advocate for greater funds to be made available in the future to assure that a just transition is provided for all of our workers and that opportunities are created for these workers in the renewable energy sector.