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Sierra Club Stands Strong with Labor in Election 2008

Pittsburgh, PA: The Sierra Club and organized labor share a common vision of rebuilding a strong American middle class by creating millions of new good-paying, unionized jobs in the clean energy economy. Sierra Club and its allied organizations have worked together this year with United Steelworkers, Working America, and others in the Labor movement to broadcast that vision to hundreds of thousands of citizens across the country.

Carl Pope will tonight join Leo Gerard, United Steelworkers International President, on the Ed Schultz show for a special "Voices of America" town hall meeting broadcast from USW headquarters in Pittsburgh. Pope  and Gerard will discuss the importance of clean energy in this election and the Sierra Club’s close partnership with the USW and other labor unions.

"When Leo Gerard and I toured the Midwest in 2006, the stakes were high and our efforts helped elect new pro-environment, pro-labor members of the House and Senate and a fantastic new governor in Ohio, as well as helping to re-elect Governor Ed Rendell—another national leader on clean energy," said Carl Pope, Sierra Club Executive Director. "The stakes this year are as high as they’ve been in half a century. We are pleased to be working with the USW and others once again to spread a message about the potential of clean energy to save our economy, create new, good-paying jobs, and end our dependence on foreign oil once and for all."

"An economy that treats workers fairly is one that is also fundamentally better for our planet," said Pope. "We and our allies in the labor movement understand that building the clean energy economy will revitalize our troubled economy, rebuild the middle class with millions of new jobs that can’t be shipped overseas, and make America more secure. Both together and separately we are taking this important message to the millions of voters in battleground states that will decide the outcome of this election."

Earlier this month the Sierra Club and Working America, the community affiliate of the AFL-CIO, held conference calls with their respective members in Ohio and Pennsylvania. Governor Ted Strickland, Secretary-Treasurer of the AFL-CIO, Richard Trumka, and Carl Pope, Sierra Club's Executive Director joined on a conference call with Ohio members to discuss the importance of good jobs and clean energy in this year's election. In Pennsylvania a similar call was lead by Pope, Governor Ed Rendell and United Steelworkers President Leo Gerard.

The rights of workers and the right to organize have come under attack this year in fiercely fought campaigns in Colorado and Oregon. The Sierra Club is working hard to defeat these extreme right-wing efforts by educating voters about why strong protections for workers and unions go hand-in-hand with strong protections for our environment. Specifically, the Club is fighting against Amendments 47, 49 and 54 in Colorado, Amendment 47 is a so-called "Right-to-Work" initiative that would threaten workers’ rights, workplace safety, and would lower wages; Amendment 49 would weaken the rights of workers to spend their own money as they see fit and make it harder to bargain for better wages; and Amendment 54 would silence the voices of people who work for state and local government who want to participate in the political process.

"Our members overwhelmingly support the right to organize and other important protections for workers and unions because they understand that protections for workers and protections for the environment are closely linked," said Cathy Duvall, Sierra Club Political Director. "While we are working hard to advance legislation like the Employee Free Choice Act at the federal level, we cannot allow workers’ rights to be eroded at the state level. We are proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with our friends in organized labor to defeat right-wing attacks on the most basic rights enjoyed by workers."

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