Monday, January 25, 2010

National Efforts support Clean Energy, Green Jobs for San Antonio

Tuesday January 26th at 4:30p
Main Plaza (in front of City Hall)
Rally & Press Conference

Two national coalitions, the Energy Action Coalition (EAC) and the Center for Community Change (CCC) join with Southwest Workers Union and local grassroots organizations to call on Mayor Castro to take real steps towards reducing energy consumption and generating good, green jobs for the City. Wearing green hard hats, young leaders of organizations from North Dakota to Florida, Washington to Arizona support the fight against expansion of the South Texas Project, phase out coal and dirty energy sources, create of a comprehensive free weatherization program for low-income families, invest in solar energy and a job creation programs in the green energy sector.

“It is time to get San Antonio back to work in clean, green industries. We call on Mayor Castro to listen to the people's voices and make San Antonio a leader in the transition to clean energy, and in the creation of green community jobs, developing a long-term, positive vision for the well-being of working families and the planet,” stated Guadalupe Alvarado, community leader of SWU.

The three organizations will present a letter to Mayor Castro requesting support for a Community Jobs programs, asking for a formalization of commitments expressed in Mision Verde, and supporting solutions to climate change that benefit the working-class people of the City. EAC and CCC support the community's call for a green jobs program to help communities make homes more energy efficient while also providing needed jobs. Specifically, EAC and CCC support:
Hire locally. At least 80% of employees used in all CPS and COSA efficiency and renewable programs should be hired from the local work force.
Green jobs should be living wage jobs. Workers participating in efficiency and renewable programs should not earn less than 180% of the state minimum wage.
Hire a diverse workforce. Historically disadvantaged or underrepresented people, including people of color, women, and low‐income residents of the city should perform no less than 30% of total trades & technical project hours.
Create a highly‐skilled workforce. Resources for continuing education and certification should be made available to those coming into the industry
Establish green job training programs in urban-center high schools as well as internship programs for young people.
Create a sustainability and environmental policy program in ACCD as a pathway to green careers, ensuring that young people from our communities have the opportunity to participate in the new green economy as thinkers and visionaries.

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Census Art Contest


Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Public Demands Clean Energy, CPS Accountability, and Green Jobs

Public Demands Clean Energy, CPS Accountability, and Green Jobs

Thursday, December 3, 2009


CPS Headquarters (145 Navarro St.)

As the Mayor heads to Washington for the White House Forum on Jobs and Economic Growth and as the world prepares to negotiate on climate change in Copenhagen, Southwest Workers Union and working class families converge to demand green energy investment locally that will create jobs and protect our health. CPS ratepayers will gather outside CPS headquarters this Thursday to demand real transparency and accountability from San Antonio’s public utility and offer real solutions to the economic and environmental crisis. We demand that CPS be accountable not only to the Mayor and City Council, but to community members whose utility rates for the past two years have already subsidized the financial risks of the STP expansion evidenced in CPS’s recent deception over the costs of the project.

Instead of nuclear or natural gas, Southwest Workers’ Union continues to insist that San Antonio’s energy future be a green one. A new era of clean energy, made possible by clean funding and accountable governance, must replace older reliance on carbon-intensive and fossil-fuel based sources of power generation. Nuclear energy is a false solution to the urgent imperative to cut carbon emissions, and we demand real solutions that are anti-poverty as well as anti-pollution. For instance, San Antonio’s residential sector represents the greatest potential for energy savings through efficiency, and weatherization programs available for free to anyone under 200% of the federal poverty line would not only reduce the city’s carbon footprint, but at the same time lower ratepayer bills and create local green jobs.

Our demand for green jobs is a timely one, as Mayor Castro travels this week to Washington, D.C. to discuss the Green Jobs Leadership Council and Mision Verde as a panelist at the White House Forum on Jobs and Economic Growth. As part of the Energy Action Coalition, Southwest Workers’ Union will also be sending youth leaders to D.C. this week to meet with President Obama around the issue of climate justice, and to participate in an action around stimulus funding and job creation convened by the Center for Community Change. As the City holds neighborhood meetings in each district to solicit community input on how to spend stimulus funding, we are calling simultaneously on Castro and Obama to direct federal money toward initiatives that build environmental sustainability and economic justice on the local and national levels, and for this to be reflected in a more democratic, transparent CPS committed to these goals as well.

# # #

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, August 24, 2009

Register for people's power summit


Dear Friends,

The question of energy and climate justice is a critically issue nationally and here in San Antonio. Southwest Workers Union is organizing a two-day summit to foster an intergenerational leadership and forge a vision for a just energy future. The summit will happen during a crossroads of San Antonio’s energy plan, as the City Council and Public Utility Company push towards the first two new nuclear reactors in 30 years. We face a critical time to build leadership and inject people of color and working class voices into the policy decisions at the local, state and federal level.

The People’s Power Summit aim is to build a peoples platform to create a just energy policy within our schools and neighborhoods. The two day program will include understanding the concepts of climate change and sustainability, workshop on community organizing, media training, and developing a structure to continue working together locally, nationally and globally. It will also include a press conference where we will deliver our message to the Mayor of San Antonio, the Council Members and which CPS board members will make their decision the following week.

The Southwest Workers' Union (SWU) is an organization of low-income workers and families, community residents, and youth, united in one organizational struggle for worker rights, environmental justice and community empowerment. Based in San Antonio, Texas, SWU empowers and organizes its 2,500 members through education, leadership development, and direct action. The aim is to build multi-generational grassroots power to create sustainable systemic change for social, economic, and environmental justice and to build the movement for dignity and justice.

Please save these days in your calendar. I have attached the registration form and you can also register online here. If you are from out of town please make arrangements to come to San Antonio on those dates. We look forward to your presence at this gathering.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Youth, Workers celebrate Raises at Bill Millers

YLO celebrates raises at Bill Miller’s BBQ

Wednesday, July 23rd 2008 – 2:00 PM
Bill Miller Headquarters
430 S Santa Rosa Ave, San Antonio, Texas

Southwest Workers Union- Youth Leadership Organization (SWU-YLO) and members will be congratulating Bill Millers on their pay raises in the last year. One year ago, the YLO launched their campaign for “Equal Pay for Equal Work” after finding out Biller Miller’s was paying Southside, West, and Eastside workers up to $2.50 less an hour than Northside workers.

The restaurant chain has quietly increased wages by .50 to $1.50 at various San Antonio locations after receiving hundreds of postcards and a petition letter with over 1,100 signatures from customers. While the YLO commends Bill Miller’s on raising the pay at their lowest wage locations, we continue to demand that Bill Miller’s respect their workers by adopting a overarching policy of Equal Pay for Equal Work across San Antonio.

“Bill Miller partners continue to refuse to meet with us, the youth of the community. If the food costs the same, why do the workers who make it get less? They’ve never answered that question” said Julian Mendez, Jefferson High School.

“But with the raises we are seeing that our organizing and the public pressure has been working. The power of the people is awesome!” Elisabeth Solis, Edison YLO Vice-President

# # #

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Congressman Rodriguez: Stop the Wall

Thursday, July 17, 2008 @ 1pm
Office of Congressman Ciro Rodriguez
1950 S.W. Military Drive (at I-35)
San Antonio, TX

Community demands Rep. Rodriguez stop family detention centers and the border wall

A coalition of grassroots community organizations will protest at the office of Congressman Ciro Rodriguez Thursday for not denouncing the Texas border wall and for his sponsorship of the SAVE Act. Communities across Rep. Rodriguez’s district, which includes Southwest San Antonio, Eagle Pass, Big Bend, and Del Rio, are overwhelmingly opposed to the wall, for which survey work has already begun. Earlier this year, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Chertoff waived over 36 federal laws protecting the environment, land-holders, native communities, including their burial and ceremonial grounds, and natural parks, and historic cross-border ways of life in order to begin work on the wall.

Consultation has been virtually non-existent with locals and DHS has overlooked studies that take into account the effects on local levees, such as in the Rio-Grande area, and ecosystems. Rep. Rodriguez has criticized DHS for the lack of consultation but has not denounced the wall for being inhumane, ineffective, and harmful to the economy and border communities. The protestors call on Rep. Rodriguez to use his position as member of the appropriations committee to work against the release of funding for the border wall.

The SAVE Act is an enforcement-only bill that would fund more walls and provides for the expansion of family detention centers with the T. Don Hutto facility as the model. Representative Rodriguez is one of only two Texas democratic supporters of the SAVE Act (H.R.4088). Representing primarily Mexican@ families, the community organizations feel that locking up children, separating families, and increased militarization of the border violate basic human rights and do nothing to curb immigration.

The organizations represented will include Southwest Workers Union, Fuerza Unida, the Hondo Empowerment Committee, Committee for Environmental Justice Action, the Brown Berets, the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center, Austin-based Grassroots Leadership, and NO WALL-Big Bend.
# # #

Labels: ,

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Energy Efficiency & Green Jobs for San Antonio

Local residents, organizations demand CPS rate-hike focus on conservation & green economic development

Thursday May 15th at 8:45am
Main Plaza

As City Council is set to approve today the proposed CPS rate-hike, Southwest Workers Union calls on elected officials to set forward an innovative and clean energy future for San Antonio. In face of rapid increasing costs of fuel and food, along with foreclosures and stagnant wages, a CPS rate increased will add an additional burden to working-class families.

“We are calling on City leaders to invest significant resources into improving the energy efficiency of homes. Weatherize programs will offset the cost of the rate hike for local families and create jobs for workers here in San Antonio and combat poverty,” explains Sandra Garcia of SWU. “For a similar program in Austin, every dollar in energy savings initiatives generates $4.40 in savings.”

Last week City leaders announced that $40 million more from the rate hike would go towards efficiency. CPS’s rebate programs often run out of money, and $40 million is not enough.

Under public pressure over the dangers of nuclear energy, city leaders removed the $206 million commitment to nuclear from the rate hike. However, in a creative accounting move, that same money will come from CPS capital improvements fund. CPS continued pursuit of a multi-billion dollar open-ended commitment to nuclear will prevent San Antonio from investing significant resources into renewable power and efficiency programs.

A household in San Antonio uses more energy than any other major city in Texas or compared with other states in the Southwest. The 2004 KEMA report found that San Antonio could curb between 12,000-1,900 megawatts in 10 years through efficiency alone, and eliminate at least 36 percent of the energy use predicted for 2014. Pending federal legislation, the Green Jobs Act, would make $120 million a year available for green jobs training programs.

“It is time for real meaningful investments in the green economy by CPS, programs that will both create a healthy planet and train green collar workers poverty. Solar and wind are the wave of the future. San Antonio should be a leader in local solar power generation and open the doors for new economic development opportunities,” said Diana Lopez.

Labels: , ,