Union Careers

Union Careers

Labor unions are organizations for employees. They are designed to speak up for workers rights and to represent workers in negotiations with employers. Often, these negotiations are over issues like how much workers get paid and what hours they work.

There can be many benefits to having a job in which you are represented by a union. For example, union workers usually make more money and get more in benefits than non-union workers.

These days, many union jobs are green jobs. That’s true of union jobs in government. Environmental technicians, science teachers, and sanitation workers who work in recycling, for instance, are all covered by unions. So are many more kinds of government workers who do work that benefit the environment. There are green union jobs with private companies, too. Construction workers involved in green construction, manufacturing workers who build energy-efficient appliances and HVAC repair people who fix energy-saving heating and cooling systems are just some examples. These days, some unions and environmental groups are also working together to speak up for good jobs that protect the environment.

If you are interested in finding a green job covered by a union, a good place to look is at the government agencies listed in many sections of this Green Jobs Guide. Many government workers are represented by unions. There are also union jobs with private employers listed. If you are interested in a union job in the construction industry, you don’t go through private employers. Instead, you enter an apprenticeship or pre-apprenticeship program. There’s a lot more information about how to do this in the “Green Construction” section of this guide.

If you already have a union job and are interested in helping protect the world we live in, your union may be a great place to start. More and more, unions are training their workers in green job skills. The building workers union, 32BJ, for example, has a fantastic training program open to all its members called the Green Supers Program. It’s a 40-hour course that teaches building superintendents and other building workers about ways they can operate their buildings that reduce pollution, save water and save energy. Other unions train members in solar panel installation, energy efficiency, and other steps they can take to help improve our environment.

To learn more about green union jobs, union training programs that teach green job skills, and about ways unions and environmental groups are working together, check out these resources:

BlueGreen Alliance

Consortium for Worker Education

GPRO—Green Professional Building Skills Training

Green Supers Program, offered by 32BJ

Labor Network for Sustainability