By Dan Maloney – President, Rochester and Genesee Valley Area Labor Federation AFL-CIO
In New York, we have the opportunity to tackle climate change and address the current 4.9% unemployment rate. We can build a strong future with green energy jobs. To accomplish this goal, we need a plan to manufacture and put green energy powered buses into service across the entire state. Prioritizing and passing the Green Transit Green Jobs bill (S8006B) currently being considered by the state legislature will give New York a huge advantage by virtue of our market size.
This legislation will be a transformative boost to regional manufacturing and to the workers that live in our community. The bill requires transit agencies to only purchase zero emission buses by 2029. We can and should use our market potential as leverage in negotiations with auto manufacturers to “build it here.”
By incentivizing bidders to commit to secure, family-supporting jobs with good wages and benefits, we can enable job growth in the transportation manufacturing industry located throughout Upstate New York. Also, to ensure accountability and transparency, we need to make sure manufacturers live up to those commitments through regular auditing and reporting. We need to know our public money is spent correctly.
The New York City Metro Transit Authority has committed to electrifying their fleet by 2040; other Upstate cities have a more aggressive timeline. This bill can jump start the process by amending the transportation law to require transit agencies to only purchase zero emission buses by 2029 as they phase out older vehicles. Our climate and economic crises are urgent. The sooner we tackle these issues, the sooner we can help auto manufacturers survive and create jobs in New York.
Why do we need locally manufactured green energy? Because the global supply chain is frail and broken. We need to increase our own “Made in New York” capacity and build an infrastructure that prioritizes green jobs. We need an All-American supply of green energy to ensure our domestic tranquility and meet our growing energy needs. I believe our top priority should be sustainable and equitable investments prioritizing green technologies.
Please encourage your state legislator to support and vote for the Green Transit, Green Jobs bill. We can and should build a cleaner environment while simultaneously building a stronger economy!
Dan Maloney is the President of Rochester and Genesee Valley Area Labor Federation AFL-CIO, representing nearly 100,000 members in the finger lakes region of New York.