PA AFL-CIO Hosts 2020 Energy Summit

Pennsylvania has long had the most diverse energy portfolio in the country.  Leading the way in energy production, our Commonwealth has a legacy of keeping the lights on for tens of millions of families across the Mid-Atlantic region. 

 Union leaders gathered together this week to discuss the future of energy production, carbon capture, nuclear and renewable energy, and the highly-skilled union workers who keep our lights on.  We also recognize the importance of affordable broadband high-speed internet access as a critical part of our Commonwealth’s infrastructure.  This extraordinary development in our communications infrastructure should be available to all Pennsylvanians, regardless of where they live or how much they make. 

The officers of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO were joined by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, Governor Tom Wolf, Kris Anderson International Representative IBEW, Martin Williams National Coordinator of State Legislative Affairs IBB, Ed Mooney Vice President CWA, Stephen Bennett PJM Interconnection, Nikki Budzinski Climate Jobs National Resource Center, Jake Smeltz, and participants from multiple affiliate unions.

Our energy industry has been a crucial part of our economy and, in many areas of our state, revitalized communities that suffered from decades of offshoring and corporate greed.  The union movement is committed to protecting workers, good-paying jobs, and preparing the future workforce for the jobs of the future.  

In his address to the Summit attendees, National AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka made it clear that unions are focused on ensuring workers have a seat at the table in this dynamic and consequential industry. “We know that we need to address climate change.  We’re not in the business of closing our eyes to science.  We can’t stop technology, but we can shape how it’s used.  These aren’t just jobs. They’re careers.  I would ask each of you, ‘Does your plan to address climate change ask more from sick, retired coal miners than it does for you and your family?  And if it does, then you need to think again’.”

President Bloomingdale stated, “America is a nation of inventors and innovators.  Whether it’s discovering and developing new technologies like carbon capture to make sure our coal plants can be cleaner and reduce carbon in the atmosphere, we must address climate change.  We want clean air and clean water. And, we want jobs in Pennsylvania.” 

“Pennsylvania is not only an energy producer; we are an energy exporter. Pennsylvania’s energy sector has always been at the forefront of new technologies and advancements, and we have worked to ensure jobs in the energy sector are equally dynamic, highly-skilled good union jobs.  Energy jobs aren’t only for the Pennsylvania of the past; they are crucial to the Pennsylvania of the future,” Bloomingdale concluded.

“In 2020, Pennsylvania’s working men and women, union men and women are at the center of America’s energy production, distribution, and maintenance. Our natural resources are second to none. And through organized labor, we have always fought to provide safe and reliable energy to keep our communities healthy and prosperous.  As direct stakeholders, we are fundamentally interested in the continuing debate about the most appropriate response to climate change,” said Secretary-Treasurer Frank Snyder.

“The fastest and most equitable way to address climate change is for organized labor to be at the center of creating solutions that reduce emissions while investing in our communities, maintaining jobs of today, creating high-wage union jobs for tomorrow, and keeping consumer pricing under control. Governor Wolf, policymakers, and candidates alike – we welcome the opportunity to contribute to the commonsense development of climate and energy legislation. Responsibly and equally,” Snyder concluded.