With 24 million Americans still out of work or unable to find full-time work, the BlueGreen Alliance and Apollo Alliance today announced a merger to strengthen and unify the movement to build a clean energy, good jobs economy to fuel U.S. job creation. The newly unified organization will call on Washington to focus anew on creating good jobs, securing America's energy future and preserving the environment for future generations.Leaders from the newly merged BlueGreen Alliance and Apollo Alliance, in their first official act together, joined U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) for a tele-press conference to announce their support for his new legislation — the Strengthening Manufacturing and Rebuilding Transit (SMART) Act — that would invest in American-made transportation infrastructure and to discuss the two organizations' merger. Senator Brown's legislation is aimed at enhancing domestic transportation supply chains while maximizing job creation in manufacturing.
"With gas prices close to $4.00 a gallon in many parts of Ohio and across the country, reinvesting in transit is more important than ever. And at the same time, manufacturing is responsible for creating hundreds of thousands of good-paying, middle class jobs," Brown said. "The buses, trolleys and trains that take Americans to every corner of our country should be 'Made in America' as well. By strengthening the domestic supply chain for public transit, the SMART Act will strengthen our public transit options and revitalize our manufacturing heritage."
"Nearly three years after the bottom fell out of our economy, we are still facing a jobs crisis of historic proportions," said Leo W. Gerard, international president of the United Steelworkers, co-chair of the BlueGreen Alliance and Apollo Alliance board member. "We can't afford to sit on the sidelines while the U.S. misses the boat on the industries of the 21st century — the biggest job-creating opportunity in a generation. That is why the BlueGreen Alliance and the Apollo Alliance are joining together today — to build a stronger movement to create good jobs that protect the environment for the next generation."
"Today, with this collaboration and our support for Senator Brown's SMART Act, we are sending a powerful message that our highest priority must be to build an economy of good jobs and broadly shared prosperity in place of the financial speculation and recklessness that brought our economy to its knees," said Phil Angelides, chairman of the Apollo Alliance. "Together, we are committed to building a new green economy for America's future that will meet the convergent threats of climate change, dependence on foreign oil, and unacceptable joblessness."
Beginning July 1, the two organizations will combine to become the BlueGreen Alliance, which will be home to the Apollo Alliance project. Together, the BlueGreen Alliance and the Apollo Alliance project will engage with labor, environmental, business and community leaders across the country to advance a bold vision of how to transform our energy future and, at the same time, create good jobs and rebuild our economy.
The invigorated organization will keep a keen focus on breaking the stranglehold of the "jobless recovery." Earlier this year, the BlueGreen Alliance launched Jobs21!, which, spearheaded by national co-chairs former Michigan Congressman Mark Schauer and former Minnesota Assistant Majority Leader Tarryl Clark, is a nine-state grassroots campaign calling for a national jobs plan to put America back to work, building the industries of the 21st century here in the United States. The initiative calls for investing in renewable energy, energy efficiency, transportation infrastructure and fuel-efficient vehicles, a smarter electrical grid, broadband Internet, recycling and green chemistry — industries that will create new jobs and markets in manufacturing, construction, education and many other sectors.
This initiative will be strengthened through coordination with the Apollo Alliance's strong network of state and local affiliates — now dubbed BlueGreen Apollo Alliances — and by Apollo's recently-launched Clean Transportation Manufacturing Action Plan (TMAP) project that calls for federal investment in clean transportation that will create 3.7 million direct and indirect jobs over six years and will save Americans up to $5,000 per family each year in commuting costs. The legislation introduced by Senator Brown today incorporates key provisions from the TMAP project.
"We are thrilled that two great organizations will become one effort to build a stronger, renewed movement to create the good jobs of the 21st century economy — the jobs that will help us to move to a clean, renewable energy economy, reduce pollution and break our country's dependence on foreign oil," said Carl Pope, chairman of the Sierra Club, co-chair of the BlueGreen Alliance and Apollo Alliance board member. "Protecting the planet and building a stronger, more prosperous economy for everyone are inextricably linked, and today, this movement becomes that much stronger."
The BlueGreen Alliance is a national partnership of labor unions and environmental organizations working to expand the number and quality of jobs in the green economy. Launched in 2006 by the United Steelworkers and the Sierra Club, the BlueGreen Alliance now unites 10 U.S. labor unions and four of America's most influential environmental organizations — and their 14 million members and supporters — in pursuit of good jobs, a clean environment and a 21st century economy.
The Apollo Alliance is a national coalition of environmental, labor, business and community leaders committed to building a clean energy, good jobs economy. Launched in 2003, Apollo's diverse coalition has offered a bold vision to catalyze a clean energy economy to spur job growth by harkening back to President Kennedy's visionary call to restore America's technological leadership by landing the first man on the moon within the decade of the 1960's.
"The BlueGreen Alliance and the Apollo Alliance are joining forces to build a more powerful movement to create good, green jobs in America," said David Foster, who will continue as executive director of the BlueGreen Alliance. "Our national purpose should be to provide every American a good job in a clean energy economy."