Monday, February 18, 2019
Part X of the State budget creates the Climate Action Council and itemizes its membership. In addition, it sets parameters for the mission of the council as well as its ability to function to meet those goals. In creating the council there is one designee to represent labor organizations. The IBEW Utility Labor Council of New York State, representing approximately 15,000 utility workers state-wide, respectfully believes this is vague in meaning. In fact, the non-governmental representatives are all very specific to the energy and environmental sectors.
We call on the Executive and the Legislature to amend Part X to include one representative of utility industry labor organizations. This will guarantee that the representative for organized labor will have the expertise in the energy sector to fully participate in this council.
Further, Part X creates an environmental justice and just transition working group. This working group will create a report, among other things, the transition of the workforce and the emerging clean energy industry. Again, this is overly generic and broad. Without a clear mandate to review subsidy credits and cost sharing benefits for health insurance, additional pension benefits, training and appropriate career services, and transitional unemployment compensation, this working group will be unable to truly address the needs of a workforce that is being eliminated through State energy policy.