My visit to the Colorado AFL-CIO and thoughts about how we succeed with a Just Transition

What an interesting evening. I had a chance to talk with painters, firefighters, pipefitters, boilermakers, the people who work on the “Choo Choos” - (that’s how they introduced themselves to me) - and so many more.

I attended the Colorado AFL-CIO Reception for the Affiliate Unions and it was great to connect with these folks.

We talked about the increase in catastrophic fires and climate change and the attack on unions by the current administration and automation and union busting big corporations.

We talked about some tough stuff. The people who work on trains don’t want to see the end of coal because a lot of the work they are currently doing involves the transportation of coal.

We spoke about what the possibilities for future transportation by train are, and how we can transition to electric trains and how we can make trains an essential mode of transport for freight and travel —and what is required for a just transition to clean energy and how workers can be the ones to help craft legislation about how to make the transition.

We also talked about medical care. So many unions have given up other benefits and pay in order to have affordable health insurance for themselves and their families. They have negotiated hard for that insurance but they recognize that as soon as their children turn 26, their kids (if they are not members of unions themselves) will likely lack affordable healthcare.

Though I’m the climate advocate who wants the US to move away from industries that many of these folks have traditionally worked in, I’m also the US Senate candidate with the most intense focus on protecting the working person.

Because at the core of my platform is the concept of social justice and protecting people and I’m convinced that these are the people who know what is required to move us into the transition to a green economy. These are the people who know how to do it - not the upper 1%.

But the federal government needs to get on board and fund this clean energy transition and fund the people and the pensions and the infrastructure to move us into the next century and beyond.

Plus, my husband is one of these guys.

Diana Bray