I was listening to an interview today with Chomsky that got me thinking about organized labor. While they do have their faults, which I will not go into here, they fundamentally (if not ideally) represent the interests of the common working person. Now given that nice little mission statement, I would assume that as a general rule the people in charge of these unions would be interested in long-term well being of their constituent members. People want to live a long, productive life in which they improve the lifestyle of themselves and family. Having said this, what happens eventually when there is no world to support them? This leads me to the fundamental question : Are labor unions genuinely concerned with the enviornment?
Taken straight from the AFL/CIO website : We march for a clean environment, so no child is ever forced to decide between drinking the water or breathing the air and staying healthy.
I'm curious as to what impact if any they are actually having on the movement towards a sustainable planet. Given that many of the most powerful labor unions represent industries that have a vested interest in the contiunation of the current unsustainable paradigm, I wonder how genuine their interest is in say, alternative fuels. The amount of power these organizations wield is surely enough to influence the industries in some way. I wish they would use it to slowly change the way industry works from the inside. Who would side with industry if unions took a firm stance on large energy companies begin to invest capital in renewable energy (thus creating more jobs and more union members)?
Perhaps I overestimate how much power these organizations have. The government certaintly isn't going to just create these industries out of thin air. Though I suppose with any great movement the people must want the change, and cutting pollution and dumping capital into a new industry (especially when the current one is so profitable) isn't the best for the bottom line. Somewhere along the way someone with power is going to have stand for this, and I just hope its the people working in these industries who eventually change the way they function. Novel notion, I know.