Public Resource

Workers and Communities in Transition: Report of the Just Transition Listening Project

J. Mijin Cha, Vivian Price, Dimitris Stevis, and Todd E. Vachon, with Maria Brescia-Weiler. Labor Network for Sustainability
03-17-2021

The concept of a "just transition" has permeated mainstream discourse, yet those who will likely be most impacted by the energy transition – frontline workers and their communities – have mostly been excluded from the conversation. This report, derived from over 100 listening sessions and interviews with workers and frontline community members, encourages policymakers to:

  1. Go Big: Be guided by a just transition vision that is ambitious and comprehensive in order to address the scope of impacts for affected communities and industries. Job creation, labor standards, and workers’ rights must be included.
  2. Go Wide: Impacts from economic transitions can be felt in a number of ways, from financial to social to psychological. Policymakers should engage with existing social infrastructure such as labor unions, frontline community groups, and Indigenous nations to make sure support is readily available.
  3. Go Far: While the climate crisis is urgent, just transition plans must not be fixated on the short-term. Instead, policymakers should include long-term commitments to workers and their communities as part of their vision and take into account differences in generational needs between older, established workers and those just entering the workforce.

In addition, the report addresses how labor and advocacy organizations need to develop authentic, trusting relationships with each other to build political and policy alignment around just transition goals. One way to start is to establish and expand internal committees and capacities to understand each other’s issues and perspectives.