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Union Resolutions

Resolution on mobilizing UFT members for action during the week of Earth Day, April 22, 2023

Union Resolutions

WHEREAS drastic improvements to school buildings in New York City and across the nation are long overdue, including a need to replace outdated and ineffective heating and cooling systems, improve ventilation and insulation, and remediate toxins that pose a risk to students, staff, and community members, and

WHEREAS climate change is an urgent crisis confronting people all over the world: extreme weather, forest fires, increased infectious disease outbreaks, rising sea levels, and pollution are wreaking havoc on the planet, and WHEREAS US school facilities emit about 72 million metric tons of carbon dioxide each year, the equivalent of about 18 coal power plants or 8.6 million homes, according to the climate advocacy organization Generation180, and

WHEREAS the deadly harms and injustices caused by continued fossil fuel use are interconnected and inseparable from the causes of other toxic environmental and school pollution, and we cannot have healthy schools without also having a healthy environment, and

WHEREAS a just clean energy transition is an opportunity for educators and students to claim desperately needed public investment, to achieve healthy community schools free of legacy toxins and climate pollution, to make schools into hubs of resilience from extreme weather and other disasters, to create good union jobs, and thriving, sustainable communities, and

WHEREAS the UFT already supports the campaign for Carbon Free and Healthy Schools, is a member of the AFT’s Climate and Environmental Justice Caucus, and is committed to the process of mobilizing membership around issues of building safety and working conditions in our contract campaign through the building of chapter-based CAT Teams, and

WHEREAS teachers and students across the country face the same issues of environmental racism and disinvestment and many teacher union locals are gearing up for a national week of action to demand green and healthy schools, therefore be it

RESOLVED that the UFT endorses and will promote the National Week of Action for Green Schools April 16-22, and

RESOLVED that the UFT encourages members to participate in the National Week of Earth Day Action by organizing creative actions and events including but not limited to holding union or community meetings to envision healthy, green school improvements; wearing green on Monday April 17; teaching lessons on climate and environmental justice; connecting and campaigning with youth and student-led movements; and rally for green schools at various Earth Day events on Saturday April 22, and

RESOLVED that the UFT will establish a standing Environmental Justice Committee made up of members, leaders, and union staff to help organize and coordinate membership education and action for the Week of Action for Green Schools and beyond, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the UFT continues to work with the coalition of NYC municipal unions that together spearhead the Carbon Free and Healthy Schools campaign (CFHS), as well as with local, state and federal lawmakers to push for New York City to create modern, healthy, zero-emissions, sustainable green schools that simultaneously improve working and learning conditions for educators and students alike, increase wages, create good union jobs and pathways for students to good union jobs, create hubs of energy and community resilience, create zero-emissions transportation and safe routes to schools, institute the teaching of climate change, sustainability, and environmental justice across curriculum, and prioritize disadvantaged, poor, low-income, frontline communities, and communities of color, and schools otherwise suffering the most cumulative, negative environmental and public health impacts, utilizing funding already allocated for this work and pushing far beyond and for much more.