The vast majority of union contracts include “no strike” clauses where unions promise not to strike until their contract expires (usually 2-4 year terms). Almost all union workers risk getting fired for striking for climate and almost all unions risk legal repercussions if they try to organize such a strike. But there are many ways they can participate in and support these actions; here are a few.
Messages of solidarity
- These can come from individual union leaders, local union executive councils, and central labor councils.
- Unions should post them on websites and facebook pages, tweet and send them out on other social media.
- They should be personalized – like a video of individual union members each saying a few words about why they support the climate strike.
- Members may not be able to strike, but leaders and staff can attend actions and be assigned to help prepare.
- Organize members who are not scheduled to work to attend – for example, janitors who work in the evening could come to an action in the afternoon.
- Union leave – when contracts allow for leave for union business, use this so that members can attend (and help in advance).
- Training programs – look for programs, like apprenticeship programs, that have groups of people who could attend.
- Donate money.
- Assign staff (field, communications, legal) to assist in planning, organizing.
- Provide office space, photocopying, printing.
- Legal support for people risking arrest.
- Encourage elected officials to endorse, attend and speak out.
- Encourage city councils and similar groups to declare a Climate Emergency and endorse GND.
- Arrange legislative hearings into the impact of climate disruption on our communities.
- Reach out to allied organizations for their support.
Actions at work
- Organize lunch-time (or, where possible, on-the-clock) discussions about climate disruption and what workers can do. Include an organizing ask; e.g.
- Everybody pull out your phone and call Congressional delegation;
- Attend climate strike action after work;
- Provide groups to get involved with – LNS, Sierra Club, XR
- Meet with managers about dealing with climate change – how outside workers respond to excess heat, protocols for handling climate emergencies, budget impact of climate disruption.
- If possible, especially with public employers, make these open to the public and invite media.
- Occupation-specific events – for example:
- Teachers do units on climate disruption.
- Health care workers hold trainings on dealing with effects of heat.