On May 25, 2019 the VTU hosted a town hall discussion focused on the intersection of tenant struggles and the Pact for a Green New Deal: an ambitious policy platform to retool and restructure the economy to face the crisis of climate change within the next decade and democratize society in the process.
The Pact is a coalition of unions, indigenous leaders, scientists, artists and youth. The meeting was open to VTU members and the general public, who discussed in groups their “red lines” and “green lines” for necessary policy to meet the climate crisis.
"Red lines” were policies deemed unacceptable to participant - for example, developments done without free, prior and informed consent of indigenous communities. Members also expressed concerns about private public partnerships which funnel public money into private hands, so-called “clean” fossil fuel investments, buyable exemptions such as emission credits and regressive taxes that place the burden of the crisis on working class people. The understanding that climate change policy could be used to reinforce existing oppression of marginalized communities, workers and refugees was a common theme.
“Green lines” (policies that participants wanted to see) included prioritizing the voices of indigenous peoples, youth and those most affected by climate change. There was emphasis on implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, support for new forms of worker participation such as worker co-operatives, prioritizing de-commodified housing, transportation and equitable access to unionized green jobs.
While VTU members have not yet formally endorsed the pact, their recommendations were submitted to inform future policy platforms which they will advocate for governments to adopt. See them all HERE
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