ACW Baseline Subreport – Labor Unions and Green Transitions in the U.S.

By Dimitris Stevis

Professor, Department of Political Science
Colorado State University, U.S.


This draft baseline report provides an exploratory overview of US labor union proposals and practices regarding a green transition. It focuses, primarily, on national level unions and it does not examine proposals from other organizations. The role of labor unions at the state and local levels as well as a more systematic review of non-union proposals that explicitly address work and workers will be covered in the amplified report. My goal is not to speculate whether a green transition of some kind will take place in the US or whether workers will benefit from such a transition. Rather, one goal is to explore whether workers and unions are striving to be the agents and authors of such a green transition and what political dynamics may prevent or enable them to do so. A second goal is to explore how inclusive or exclusive the green transitions envisioned by unions may be.

The first part of this report clarifies the analytical approach that is employed and, in particular, the interface of sociotechnical transitions, politics, social power and institutions. The second part provides an overview of union strategies by sector or industry. I close with some comments about green transitions that set the agenda for additional research.


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