Utility Workers Union Lauds COP26 Just Transition Pledge, Urges Concrete Action to Help Working Families Navigate Energy Transition

WASHINGTON, DC (NOVEMBER 15, 2021) – The Utility Workers Union of America, AFL-CIO (UWUA) today commended governments participating in COP26 for acknowledging the need for a socially just transition as the world moves toward net-zero emissions. UWUA recognized the positive impact of the pledge and urged meaningful action be taken on the ground to make the pledge a reality.

UWUA President James Slevin released the following statement:

“The Just Transition principles signed at COP26 represent significant progress toward acknowledging the impacts of the global energy transition on individuals working in fossil fuel intensive industries across the globe. The principles outlined are a step forward for millions of working families who have powered local and regional economies for generations.

“This pledge must now be made real with concrete supports that offer individuals working in fossil fuel intensive industries wage replacement, access to healthcare, pension support and money to further their education and help them meaningfully navigate into new career paths. These elements are critical to a fair, just, and equitable move to low-carbon energy; are urgently needed; and must be sustained over time.

“Approaching the energy transition with these kinds of economic supports offers the only rational alternative to the random, chaotic series of coal facility closures taking place now.

“As U.S. lawmakers consider domestic just transition policies for fossil fuel impacted workers, we strongly urge they support policies already under consideration. The policy responses are already known – we simply need policy leaders to get to ‘yes’ on helping workers meaningfully navigate change – and make the money available. Rational carbon pricing systems have already been shown in many countries to be a tool for raising the revenue necessary to fund a truly just transition.

“It’s our hope that through this pledge and future long-term investments in working families, we will forge a path forward to help fossil fuel workers who have powered this country for generations provide for their families and avoid unintended consequences of this transition including generational poverty, growth in radicalized populations and other negative social outcomes.”


Chartered in 1945, the Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA), AFL-CIO represents 50,000 active members employed in America’s utility sectors including the electric, gas, water, and related professional and service industries. James Slevin is UWUA’s National President.  For more information visit https://uwua.net.