Steelworkers Union Tackles Climate Change in Workshop Guide


Climate Change and Just Transition: What Will Workers Need?

United Steelworkers National Health, Safety Environment and Human Rights Conference 2017


The United Steelworkers Union (USW) in Canada has produced a new workshop guide to educate workers about the impact of climate change on jobs, and to better prepare them to ensure that government policies promoting a just transition are put in place. The workshop and guide were piloted at the United Steelworkers National Health, Safety, Environment and Human Rights Conference that was held in Vancouver in 2017.

The workshop guide leads union members through discussion topics and activities, such as asking participants to answer the question, “What can your workplace do to combat climate change?”

Topics covered include:

  • How Climate Change Connects Us
  • How Climate Change Contributes to the World of Work
    • Employment
    • Forestry
    • Mining
    • Transportation
  • Just Transition
  • What Does a Green Job Mean in Relation to the Environment?
    • Collective Agreements
    • Political Lobbying
    • Green Procurement
    • Training
    • Employment Insurance
  • National Concern for the Economic Growth of Canada


A main focus of the workshop is the need for a just transition to a greener economy.

Workers and trade unions should be concerned with the lack of policies in place protecting the rights of all workers who will be affected because of a direct or indirect loss of their jobs as a result of climate policies. Some sectors of our economy are already or will soon be targeted by these measures. We as workers, employers, and labour unions need a better understanding of the impacts these measures will have on employment, not with a view to blocking them, but to ensure that the most vulnerable will be prepared to face the necessary changes and not pushed even further into exclusion. – Climate Change and Just Transition: What Will Workers Need?


The workshop and guide were produced in partnership with the Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces to Respond to Climate Change: Canada in International Perspective,” (ACW) a Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Partnership Program-funded project, based at York University, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies.


Download the Guide (PDF)