ILO Draws on ACW Research to Promote Worker Engagement in Addressing Climate Change

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International Labour Organization’s World Employment and Social Outlook Report 2018 draws on York Partnership Programme ACW to promote worker engagement in addressing climate change

 

World Employment and Social Outlook 2018: Greening with jobs
World Employment and Social Outlook 2018: Greening with jobs

In its flagship report, World Employment and Social Outlook 2018: Greening with Jobs, released in Geneva this month, the United Nations International Labour Organization (ILO) says that action to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius will result in sufficient job creation to more than offset job losses of 6 million elsewhere. In fact, twenty-four million new jobs will be created globally by 2030 if the right policies to promote a greener economy are put in place.

The ILO’s report devotes a key section to the importance of workers organizations, such as unions, in reducing the harmful impact of climate change, stating that “… the participation of workers’ and employers’ organizations must be integrated in mitigation and adaptation policies.”

The UN agency notes that environmental clauses negotiated into collective agreements can have a positive impact, and draws upon data contained in the unique Green Collective Agreements Database compiled by York University’s Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces to Respond to Climate Change: Canada in International Perspective (ACW) research project.

“Through collective agreements, employers and trade unions have worked together to identify areas, including GHG emissions, where a reduction in environmental impact could be achieved without losses in jobs, pay and working conditions,” it states. The ILO report includes a detailed table of 19 green clauses from collective agreements, grouped into five categories including green procurement, green travel, cutting waste and saving resources, the right to refuse work, and whistle-blower protection.

“I am delighted that our research on worker agency in reducing climate change is being taken up by such a prestigious and influential body as the United Nations International Labour Organization,” said Principal Investigator Dr. Carla Lipsig-Mummé of York University’s Department of Social Science, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies.

York University’s ACW research project is winning increased recognition by international and Canadian institutions. The ILO report is the second time a UN agency has used research produced by the ACW, following the citation of ACW’s work by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) secretariat in 2016.

As well, Dr. Lipsig-Mummé was named finalist for prestigious Impact Award by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) in 2017, and she was the 2018 winner of the Sefton-Williams Award for Contributions to Labour Relations by the University of Toronto’s Woodsworth College and the Centre for Industrial Relations and Human Resources.

The only tripartite U.N. agency, since 1919 the International Labour Organization (ILO) brings together governments, employers and workers of 187 member States, to set labour standards, develop policies and devise programmes promoting decent work for all women and men.

The Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces to Respond to Climate Change: Canada in International Perspective (ACW) research project is a SSHRC-funded partnership grant which brings together 56 individual researchers and 25 partner organizations from seven countries, and is based at York University.

World Employment and Social Outlook 2018: Greening with Jobs, published by the ILO, is available from the ILO website at: http://www.ilo.org/global/about-the-ilo/newsroom/news/WCMS_628644/lang–en/index.htm

 

Download the full report (PDF)

 

Dr. Carla Lipsig-Mummé wins 2018 Sefton-Williams Award for Contributions to Labour Relations

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York University Professor Carla Lipsig-Mummé has been named the 2018 winner of the Sefton-Williams Award for Contributions to Labour Relations. It honours those who have made a significant contribution to the field of labour relations and human rights.

The Sefton-Williams award is presented by the University of Toronto’s Woodsworth College and the Centre for Industrial Relations and Human Resources. Both practitioners in labour relations as well as academics have received this award.

“Professor Lipsig-Mummé’s research and activism in the labour relations field, most recently and innovatively exploring the link between climate change and the world of work, has bridged the gap between practitioner and scholar,” said Professor Rafael Gomez, Director of the Centre for Industrial Relations and Human Resources. “The Sefton-Williams committee chose to honour these achievements.”

Award announcement

Dr. Lipsig-Mummé joins the ranks of eminent Canadians who have been honoured with the Sefton-Williams award, including former President of the Canadian Auto Workers and the Canadian Labour Congress Bob White, feminist labour activist and Professor Emeritus of Women’s Studies at York University Linda Briskin, and former Leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada Ed Broadbent.

Carla Lipsig-Mummé is Professor of Work and Labour Studies at York University, and is currently Principal Investigator of the Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces to Respond to Climate Change (ACW) research project, which brings together 56 individual researchers and 25 partner organizations in seven countries. Its ground-breaking work has been recognized by the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The Sefton-Williams Award for Contributions to Labour Relations is named in honour of Mr. Larry Sefton and Mr. Lynn Williams, two accomplished leaders of the United Steelworkers of America. The award ceremony and memorial lecture will be held on Thursday, March 29, 2018 from 4:00 PM until 6:00 PM in the Kruger Hall Commons, Woodsworth College, 119 St. George St., Toronto. Juliet Schor, Professor of Sociology at Boston College, will deliver the memorial lecture entitled, “Dependence and Precarity in the ‘Sharing’ Economy.”

For more information or to register to attend the ceremony, visit the Centre for Industrial Relations and Human Resources’ website at http://www.cirhr.utoronto.ca/about-cirhr/sefton-memorial-lecture/

UNFCCC Taps ACW Project to Assist Intergovernmental Climate Change Negotiations

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Media Release
For immediate release
December 2, 2016

(Toronto, ON) A ground-breaking technical paper on jobs and climate change produced by the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) draws upon unique research produced by a joint labour and research project based at York University.

The UNFCCC report, entitled “Just transition of the workforce, and the creation of decent work and quality jobs,” profiles research produced by the Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces to Respond to Climate Change project (ACW). According to the UN, the secretariat’s paper was prepared to assist nations to move decisively on reducing the greenhouse gasses produced by work and workforces, while creating decent work and quality jobs for a new labour market.

“This important UNFCCC paper breaks new ground in a much trodden field,” said Carla Lipsig-Mummé, Project Director and Principal Investigator of ACW. ‘Just transition’, carbon footprint reduction in the world of work while ensuring that good jobs and decent work are not only retained but expanded, has long been invoked. But achieving just transition has been elusive, requiring as it does a mix of state financial support and regulation, technological advances and work redesign, mobilisation of the social safety net, willingness of employers, an active labour market policy, and the creative engagement of workers and their unions.”

“The UN’s new report will deepen the international community’s understanding of the need to consider the impact of climate policies on workers, and the essential role that labour unions have in combatting climate change,” she said. “I am delighted that our research, produced through a collaboration of academic and organized labour researchers funded by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada, has contributed to intergovernmental climate change negotiations through the UNFCCC,” she added.

Specifically, an innovative database at York University of collective agreements clauses devoted to environmental conservation receives special recognition by the UNFCCC. “As part of the Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces to Respond to Climate Change project, an online database of green collective agreements has been developed from UK, Australian and American as well as Canadian collective agreements. The database includes clauses related to climate change and low-carbon development,” notes the UNFCCC paper.

The UNFCCC technical paper is timely. At a recent meeting of ACW international researchers in Vancouver, concerns about “Just Transition” for workers impacted by climate change mitigation measures were high on the agenda. Participants noted with concern that governments are skirting their obligation to assist workers in the transition to a low-carbon economy.

ACW membership includes 47 individual researchers and 24 partner organizations in 4 countries and the European Union. It is a Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Partnership Program–funded project, based at York University.

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Just transition of the workforce, and the creation of decent work and quality jobs, Bonn, Germany: United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Secretariat, 2016. http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2016/tp/07.pdf

 

For more information contact:
Steven Staples, ACW Communication Officer
sstaples@yorku.ca