UAW solidarity statement

The Ecology Center Stands with the UAW

Published on October 19, 2023

The Electric Vehicle Transition Should Be a Just Transition for Workers   

We believe you cannot have a healthy planet without healthy people – and healthy people need safe working conditions, fair, family-sustaining wages, and good benefits. That’s why the Ecology Center stands with the United Auto Workers (UAW) in support of their strike demands for a fair share of the auto industry’s profits and full partnership as the industry makes the transition to electric vehicles. 

We joined with 100+ organizations in signing on to Labor Network for Sustainability’s open letter to the CEOs of General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis urging them to do right by the workers by preserving and strengthening good union jobs as they transition to clean transportation. The full letter can be read here

The Ecology Center’s Director, Mike Garfield, said the following, 

“Former UAW President Walter Reuther was a keynote speaker at Michigan’s first Earth Day in 1970, the event that led to the founding of the Ecology Center.  Soon after, the Ecology Center and UAW organized one of the first labor-environment conferences at the UAW’s Black Lake retreat center.

Over the decades, we have worked alongside autoworkers to address environmental health issues both inside and outside the auto industry’s factory walls. The Ecology Center’s staff have been union members since 1991. As UAW auto workers stand up on the strike line, we stand in solidarity with them. 

The United States must transition to electric vehicles, and Michigan is poised to lead this transition. However, it cannot come at the expense of autoworkers’ health and well-being. We must prioritize individual and community health above profits. We can build a nation with unionized, well-paying green jobs to support our transition to a cleaner, more sustainable future.”