John Harrity is a founding member of the Connecticut Roundtable on Climate and Jobs and currently serves as Board Chair. John also serves on the Board of the Connecticut Green Bank, a quasi-public agency that has leveraged $1 billion in private/public investments in CT renewables, creating more that 13,000 jobs. He was also a founding member and Vice Chair of the CT Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Coalition, a fuel cell industry group. John served as President of the CT State Council of Machinists from 2012 to 2018. He represented CT labor on the CT Employment and Training Commission and the Manufacturing Innovation Fund Advisory Board.
He has a BA from the University of Connecticut and an MA from the University of Massachusetts in Labor Studies. John began his career in 1979 as a Vertical Turret Lathe operator at Pratt & Whitney. He is retired after 38 years of active involvement in the Machinists Union, including 32 years on staff as an organizer, communications director, legislative coordinator and business representative. He is a recipient of the IAM’s Bob Kalasky Outstanding Achievements Award for Communications.
Renee Hamel has worked in different capacities in the Connecticut labor movement over the past five years. She currently serves as Communications Coordinator with AFSCME Council 4, representing 30,000 public sector workers throughout the state. She also serves as a Vice Chair of the CT Roundtable on Climate and Jobs and is co-chair of Council 4’s Environmental Committee. With over a decade of experience, primarily in Hartford, some of her past work includes coordinating after-school programs and conducting evaluation and research for local food insecurity initiatives.
As a social work and public health graduate student at the University of Connecticut, she organized students to attend the People’s Climate March and led presentations for classes about the intersection of climate change, human rights, public health, & social justice.
Her involvement with the Roundtable emphasizes support for a green economy that enables sustainable job growth for the most vulnerable & disenfranchised – not only those disproportionately impacted by climate change but including a thoughtful and intentional “just transition” of workers.
Renee is proud to be among the inspiring leaders of the Roundtable and grateful for the opportunity to merge two passions of climate justice and labor activism.
Read this piece by Renee and board member Dan W. McInerney on how labor is leading in the green economy.
A native of the Pacific Northwest, Guy has been involved with Clean Water Fund’s (CWF) Connecticut Energy Program since 2013, where he currently serves as the Connecticut Energy Program Liaison.
He closely follows agency policy developments with the Connecticut Energy Efficiency Board(EEB), the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), the Connecticut Green Bank (CGB) and other agencies. Guy makes sure Clean Water’s statewide volunteer network of local Clean Energy Task Forces/Commissions are kept updated on policy, financial and legislative matters for the benefit of their renewable and energy efficiency initiatives and projects.
In recent years, Guy has had an active role in several congressional and state level electoral campaigns. Guy has served as the City of Hartford’s Assistant Treasurer and Secretary to the City’s Pension Commission and has an extensive background in marketing institutional banking and investment management services to corporations and public pension funds and retirement systems.
Guy resides in the town of Canton, where he serves on the town’s Energy Committee as well as on the Farmington River Watershed Association’s Board of Directors.
Jeremy Brecher is a historian, documentary filmmaker, activist, and author of 15 books on labor and social movements. He has participated in movements for nuclear disarmament, civil rights, peace in Vietnam, international labor rights, global economic justice, accountability for war crimes, climate protection, and many others.
A lifelong Connecticut resident, Brecher served as Humanities Scholar-in-Residence at Connecticut Public Television and Radio. He wrote and/or produced more than a dozen documentaries, mostly on Connecticut topics, including five on Connecticut African-American history, Connecticut Native American history, and Connecticut Puerto Rican history.
He was producer, writer, and host of Connecticut Public Radio’s Remembering Connecticut, which broadcast more than 80 radio programs on a wide variety of Connecticut topics. He is the author of two books on Connecticut working class history, “Brass Valley: The Story of Working People’s Lives” and “Struggles in an American Industrial Region” and “Banded Together: Economic Democratization in the Brass Valley.”
Jeremy is the author of three books on climate change, “Climate Insurgency,” “Climate Solidarity,” and” Against Doom.” His two most recent books, “Save the Humans?: Common Preservation in Action” and “Common Preservation in a Time of Mutual Destruction” address the possibilities for a human survival movement in the face of climate destruction and other threats to human survival.
Jeremy Brecher is a founding member of the Connecticut Roundtable on Climate and Jobs and co-founder and senior strategic advisor for the Labor Network for Sustainability.
Jeremy’s books and documentaries can be downloaded free on his website.
Dan W. McInerney is a licensed electrician, is the Business Manager and Financial Secretary of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local Union 488.
He had previously served as a Membership Development Representative for the union, and he was the electrical inspector for the City of Bridgeport for almost 20 years.
In 2016, Dan was named Director of the Connecticut Labor Management Cooperation Committee where he coordinated the Committee’s statewide policy advocacy and contract negotiations.
During his tenure as Director, Dan oversaw the continuous growth of the organization and collaborated with Connecticut lawmakers to phase out legislation that was detrimental to Connecticut labor unions and their members.
He also led IBEW’s advocacy efforts to ensure the state’s commitment to employing local union members in constructing and operating Connecticut’s new offshore wind projects.
Dan brings his extensive experience forging alliances on behalf of labor unions and advocating for the rights of Connecticut workers to his role as a member of CRCJ’s Board of Directors.
Read this piece from Dan and Vice Chair Renee Hamel.
Mustafa Salahuddin is new to the CRCJ board and brings a wealth of knowledge and experience. He is the President and Business Agent for Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1336 in Bridgeport. Mustafa is a retired police officer with 23 years on the job and was also a school bus driver for 13 years. He also has more than 20 years experience as a transit bus operator.
Mustafa has been a strong advocate for the use of electric vehicles, especially buses and other forms of public transportation. Not only are electric buses a healthier option, he said in a 2019 interview, they are more cost efficient in the long-term.
Read Mustafa’s August 2, 2022 op-ed on EV buses.
Mary Donegan is an Assistant Professor-in-Residence in the University of Connecticut’s Urban and Community Studies program. Mary’s research is driven by questions of how local governments and institutions can leverage scarce resources to foster socially just and environmentally sustainable economic and community development. At UConn she teaches courses on urban development and planning, urban sustainability, research methods, and economic development and justice. She is particularly dedicated to promoting sustainable, multimodal transportation options and can often be found walking, biking, and riding transit. She holds a Master’s and Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an undergraduate degree from Wellesley College in economics and Russian area studies.
Sahar is new to the CRCJ Board of Directors. She is a sustainability assistant for City of Hartford. Sahar is a 2021 graduate of University of Connecticut where she was a senator in the student government, a writing consultant and actively involved in climate justice issues.
Sahar previously worked for the Center for Latino Progress (CPRF) where she served as Assistant Coordinator for the Transport Hartford Academy, “an advocacy program aimed at promoting modes of transportation which are environmentally sustainable, equitable, safe, and accessible.”
She was also Communications Manager for the #IAmNotAVirus campaign.
She created the “Not So Grown-Up” podcast in 2020 and holds a certification from the Collaborative Institutional Training Institute in Social and Behavioral Research.
Sahar is a co-incorporator for the non-profit group, US BTS ARMY.
As Chair of the Roundtable’s Board of Directors, I might be expected to deliver a message of upbeat platitudes mixed with vague warnings about grey skies ahead. But these are serious times and you are beyond needing a Climate Change 1.0 refresher. Instead, let’s look at a major victory on climate change in Connecticut last year that illustrates clearly what it will take to keep winning on this issue. Let’s talk about Climate Change 2.0.
In 2021 the CT Roundtable on Climate and Jobs, in conjunction with a number of coalition partners, introduced legislation that was passed by the
General Assembly and signed into law by Governor Lamont. SB 999 – AN ACT CONCERNING A JUST TRANSITION TO CLIMATE-PROTECTIVE ENERGY PRODUCTION AND COMMUNITY INVESTMENT– has three major components.
Prevailing wage rates for workers installing renewable projects of 2 MW or larger, workforce development programs to ensure people historically excluded from the building trades get a chance at apprenticeships and other career opportunities, and a community benefit agreement with the developer to share some of the prosperity created by the project with the community.
These provisions are included because they are the right thing to do. But beyond that, they bring together the essential coalition for winning on climate change.
Working people and their unions will not support climate change if renewable energy jobs sink into a “WalMart” basement of low pay and benefits. Communities will not welcome renewables if they sustain the history of locating energy eyesores in urban centers for the benefit of the prosperous suburbs.
People of color have no reason to believe promises of job inclusion and training programs aimed at success unless they see some results; there have been too many broken promises.
Environmentalists need to see actual carbon reduction from these projects, which must be environmentally responsible in all aspects of their construction and maintenance.
The coalition of these forces can drive the agenda on climate change. Unity and equity among these partners is essential.
At the end of the day, the objective remains eliminating carbon. Now you know Climate Change 2.0.
But before we quit, a quick word on “Just Transition.” Folks in the labor movement are familiar with this term, which means that workers in fossil-fuel related industries need to know they can move seamlessly into new jobs, without losing pensions, health coverage and other benefits.
Lots of people in Black and Brown communities never got a shot at those jobs, and the pensions, insurance, etc that accompanied that employment. Just Transition needs to protect displaced workers, while providing just pay and benefits to those excluded by the forces of discrimination.
There’s no room in a lifeboat for preferred seating. Either we all pull together for survival, or we sink ignobly beneath the weight of our own shortsightedness.
That’s climate change 2.1.