The Climate and Community Investment Act ensures a just transition to a clean energy economy by protecting the rights of renewable energy industry workers.
The bill was passed by both houses of the CT General Assembly and signed into law by Governor Lamont on June 14, 2021.
Alongside Connecticut labor leaders, and with technical assistance from the Climate Jobs National Resource Center, the Roundtable introduced Connecticut SB 999 (2021), An Act Concerning a Just Transition to Climate-Protective Energy Production and Community Investment.
This bill, also called the Climate and Community Investment Act, is a climate jobs bill that includes provisions for prevailing wage, community benefits agreements, and workforce development.
The Climate and Community Investment Act will ensure green jobs created in Connecticut pay fair wages and are filled by skilled Connecticut workers. It also ensures people in the communities where projects are located have access to the training they need to benefit from those jobs. The bill will promote the development of a stable, highly-trained clean technology workforce so that Connecticut’s workers aren’t left behind in the transition to a low-carbon economy.
On Thursday, June 3, the Connecticut Senate passed the Climate and Community Investment Act (SB 999), historic legislation that will combat climate change while creating good union jobs, sending the bill to Governor Lamont for his signature. The Connecticut House of Representatives passed SB 999 on Tuesday with an overwhelming majority (89-59).
SB 999 will help transition Connecticut to a low-carbon, renewable energy economy that creates good, union jobs. The legislation is the first in the nation to require all large-scale renewable energy projects in the state to pay workers prevailing wages, support workforce development through participation in apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs, and create community benefits agreements.
The passage of SB 999 is a testament to the power and diversity of the CT Roundtable on Climate and Jobs’s coalition, which brings together labor unions, environmentalists, community organizations, social justice organizations, interreligious groups, climate justice organizations, and students to rally around the need for good-paying green jobs in the state.
“As Connecticut makes strides towards a clean energy economy, it is essential that we protect the workers helping to create a more sustainable future for us all. The Senate passage of SB 999 is a key step towards a climate-friendly economy that guarantees workers’ rights, enables career development for workers from marginalized communities, and ensures that Connecticut will reap the economic benefits of green projects conducted in their communities,” said Aziz Dehkan, Executive Director of the Connecticut Roundtable on Climate and Jobs.
While defending the bill on the Senate floor, Julie Kushner, Senate Chair of Labor and Public Employees Committee stated, “For me, SB 999 is a really important bill because I fully understand the need for us to transition to renewable energy sources, for the good of the planet, for the good of future generations, and for the good of my grandkids. This bill shows that not only are we committed to the planet’s future, but also to workers and their families.”
“The passage of SB 999 demonstrates Connecticut’s commitment to a just transition to a low-carbon economy. It demonstrates that we don’t need to choose between renewable energy and family-sustaining jobs—we can and should have both,” said Allison Pilcher, Policy Director at the Connecticut Roundtable on Climate and Jobs.
Representative Robyn Porter, House Chair of Labor and Public Employees Committee said, “It gave me great pleasure to lead the passage of SB999 in the House of Representatives. This bill will level the playing field for many of our workers and provide a just transition from fossil fuel to renewable energy. It truly is a win-win for employers, employees, our environment, children and families – and I couldn’t have done it without my team and you all know who you are!”
“SB 999 illustrates the opportunity we have to create good-paying prevailing wage jobs as we address climate change through green infrastructure projects,” said David Roche, President of the CT State Building Trades Council.
Help ensure we have the resources to win more legislative victories
Many renewable energy employers in Connecticut pay low wages and bring in workers and contractors from out-of-state. SB 999 would address these gaps by creating good jobs for the state’s most disadvantaged communities and protecting workers and communities that may lose employment in the state’s clean energy transition. Specifically, the bill provides for:
SB 999 would raise Connecticut to the same renewable energy labor standards its neighboring states, New Jersey and New York State, have established. Connecticut already required the payment of prevailing wages on offshore wind projects, and SB 999 will ensure similar labor standards are applied to all large-scale renewable energy projects.
CRCJ Executive Director Aziz Dehkan was thrilled to celebrate the historic passage of the Climate and Community Investment Act (SB 999) at the monthly breakfast for CT State Building Trades!
Left to right: Joe Toner (Executive Director of CT State Building Trades), Nate Brown (of International Union of Operating Engineers Local 428), Aziz Dehkan (CRCJ Executive Director), Dave Roche (President of CT State Building Trades & Business Manager of Sheet Metal Workers Local 40) & Keith Brothers (Executive Secretary CT State Building Trades)
Prevailing wages are fair wages that prevent large state-funded projects from driving down the market value of labor. Prevailing wage rates vary by craft, position, and location. Prevailing wage rates in Connecticut must comply with section 31-53 of the Connecticut General Statutes. The state’s current hourly rates are available through the Connecticut Department of Labor.
SB 999 will ensure that host communities of renewable energy projects receive real benefits from renewable energy projects by requiring developers to negotiate community benefits agreements. This codifies the industry best practice for community outreach.
SB 999 will ensure renewable energy projects create middle-class careers for Connecticut residents from disadvantaged communities by requiring developers to partner with approved in-state apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs.
For questions about SB 999 or the Climate Jobs Initiative, please email [email protected].