Just like the struggle for a universal $15 an hour minimum wage, fighting for a healthy sustainable planet is a working class issue. From the toxic underground plumes near the oil refineries in South Philadelphia to the new plans to make Philadelphia an “Energy Hub” and privatize PGW, working people bear the brunt of the impact when corporations profit off environmental destruction.
Instead of Keystone XL, we need a massive federal green investment program to combat global warming. President Obama must push for aggressive investment in renewable energy and new efficient technologies to replace fossil fuels. Workers in the phased out industries should be offered full pensions or job retraining at union rates of pay. Economists have proven over and over that the Keystone XL pipeline will not create a significant amount of permanent jobs that will benefit American workers.
Locally, investment in sustainable energy would create thousands of jobs in Philly. This type of federal investment would open huge opportunities for our youth and the unemployed in communities across the country. Together with a $15 an hour minimum wage and the guaranteed right to form unions our country would radically reduce poverty and improve the quality of life for Philadelphians.
Furthermore, projects that damage our environment overwhelmingly impact workers who already live in poverty. Families of color and families in low income neighborhoods suffer devastating health problems caused by pollution related to fossil fuel production and industrial waste.
As we fight for a global economy that works for everyone, not just the wealthy elite, working class people must continue to tie together the common issues of income inequality, environmental sustainability, racism, and the right to health and healthcare. $15 Now is proud to stand behind workers protesting the KXL pipeline and rejecting the notion that we must sacrifice our health and environment for short term gains for the elite.