Posted March 6, 2017
Olav Rokne, Alberta Federation of Labour
Coalition of coal workers unveils transition plan
Report examines how Alberta can be a leader in phase out of emissions from coal-fired electricity
Edmonton – A coalition of workers who will be affected by Alberta’s plan to phase-out coal fired electricity generation have unveiled a made-in-Alberta blueprint for a transition plan that puts a focus on jobs, workers and their communities.
The report “Getting It Right: A Just Transition For Alberta’s Coal Workers” examines the successes and failures of other transitions from around the world and concludes by recommending that the government should establish an independent Alberta Economic Adjustment Agency to manage the transition.
“The workers who have dedicated their careers to keeping the lights on need to be supported as they face the closure of coal-fired electrical plants and associated mines,” Coal Transition Coalition chair and Alberta Federation of Labour president Gil McGowan said. “This government is a global leader and innovator in climate change policies – They can also be leaders in creating a path forward for workers in industries affected by these policies.”
The report argues that a transition can only be successful if it is based on input from the people and communities that are facing the biggest changes and that a just transition must include: support for communities; planned transitions to work and to retirement; protecting workers’ pensions; bringing employers to the table; education, training and career counseling; and the involvement of workers and their representatives.
“The phase-out of emissions from coal-fired electricity generation is taking place over a long period of time – which is an opportunity for the province to do this the right way. But Alberta needs to get started on this now,” McGowan said. “Some of the most effective strategies need long-term thinking and careful planning – we are in a unique position to get this right, and to show the rest of the world how a just transition can be achieved.”
The report – as well as supplementary information – is online at www.coaltransition.ca. The coalition will be sending copies of the report to the Advisory Panel on Coal Communities, to MLAs, and organizing meetings between workers from the coal industry and elected officials.
Olav Rokne, Communications Director, Alberta Federation of Labour at 780.218.4351 (cell) or via e-mail email@example.com