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The remarks below were presented to the Portland to the Northwest Conference on Transmission and Grid Policy to Facilitate Green Energy Generation

I speak today on behalf of the 50,000 members of the Utility Workers Union of America and our President, Michael Langford.  My comments today also reflect the views of the Blue Green Alliance, its 8 million members, and, indeed, the American labor movement.

It is beyond essential that the United States begin immediately to tap our vast renewable and sustainable energy resources--resources that only need public policy to spur investment to begin providing much of  America's energy needs including the wind that never stops blowing across our Great Plains, the sun that shines all day, day after day in the great deserts of Arizona and other state

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Just a week ago I had the honor of being in Mt. Vernon, Indiana for a major protest against the closing of a large Whirlpool factory that had employed 1200 people so they could move the work to Mexico.

In Minnesota, Polaris snowmobiles announced they are closing their factory in Osceola to move that work to Mexico.

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Michael Williams helped with research for this article.

With the oil continuing to spew out of BP's hole in the floor of the Gulf of Mexico and with Israel's assault on those who would provide aid to blockaded Gaza, the continuing rise of sea levels and melting of the Polar ice cap and climate patterns changing; it is beyond debate that we must move to green energy generation on a much larger and faster scale and pace and reduce the amount of carbon emitted in our air and the amount of fossil fuels that we consume.

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This piece co-authored by Stewart Acuff & Bill Fletcher, Jr.

We have found ourselves wondering why President Obama is being 'red-baited' by the political Right. Any reasonable person looking at the policies of this administration could never come to the conclusion that it is anything close to socialist in nature. While there have been certain progressive initiatives taken by the administration, the pro-corporate orientation would be evident to a ship in a fog. The hesitancy, for instance, of this administration to debunk the myths surrounding the national debt, its willingness to promote off-shore drilling (prior to the Gulf Coast disaster), the pulling back from an active and vocal support for the Employee Free Choice Act, the continuation of wars, the failure to challenge the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories, and, on a different scale, the fact that Larry Summers remains a close economic advisor to the President show that the objectives of this administration are as distant from socialism as Earth is from Alpha Centauri.

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Next week we expect Climate Change legislation to be introduced in the U.S. Senate.  The legislation will move our country to significant investment in green energy generation and conservation creating as many as 2 million new, good jobs.

My new book, Getting America Back to Work, available now connects the need for new job creation to our chance to create a whole new industry, green energy.

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Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell just opened up another wound in our country's abysmal racist history with his decision to name April Confederate History Month in Virginia--and to do so without mentioning slavery as the cause of the Civil War--or even at all. And only acknowledging the role of slavery  two days later after intense uproar from Virginians and people alike across the country.

It is the height of white male privilege for politicians like McDonnell or Georgia's Governor Sonny Purdue to use symbols of the Civil War, slavery, the Confederacy, and racism without regard to how painful that is for so many of our people--not just African-Americans.

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An article by Stanford Professor Jeffrey Pfeffer in the February 15 issue of Newsweek makes a compelling, well-researched case that layoffs and downsizing are bad for the firms that do it as well as bad for the economy.

Many of us have known that high unemployment, reduced wages and benefits, and layoff after layoff have disastrously suppressed consumer demand driving the recession deeper and making it more intractable.

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Any student in any beginning economics class soon learns that the way a nation or a society creates wealth is by making things or building things other people want to buy and are willing to pay for.

The Financial Elite figure out one way for them to maximize their wealth and power is to use poor people with no power in places like China and Indonesia to build things and sell them back to America.

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America's broad, deep Middle Class, indeed, the American Dream was formed in the 20-25 years after the passage of the Wagner Act in 1935 which codified the right of workers in America to freely form unions and bargain collectively.

Between 1935 and 1955 12 million workers formed unions and more than one in three workers in America became union members.

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Our economy is mired in the worst crisis we've had since the Great Depression. The one seemingly insurmountable barrier to reviving the economy is the lack of consumer demand caused by 30 years of stagnant and declining wages and now rising unemployment.

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This Monday the nation will pause for a minute to celebrate the birthday, life, work, and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King.

All through this three day weekend we will see ads on tv, read them in newspapers, and hear ads on the radio with corporate America thanking Dr. King for his incredible efforts to free African-Americans and fight racial injustice.

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This piece is cross posted from the Huffington Post

President Obama is easily the most pro-union President we've had in this country since Harry Truman--or maybe even Franklin Roosevelt.  He appointed one of the most pro-worker Members of Congress as Secretary of Labor.  His appointments to the NLRB are spot on.  He has repeatedly endorsed the Employee Free Choice Act.  President Obama has given the leaders of the labor movement more access than we've had since Lyndon Johnson.  His actions kept our economy from going from a recession to a depression.  And he has worked very hard to enact historic healthcare reform.  But as trade unionists we have responsibility to work hard to make sure that the costs of healthcare reform are not borne by working families.  We should tax the rich.  They got a 2.5 trillion dollar tax cut under Bush.  We should also tax the financial industry.  They cost this country and the world trillions of dollars with their totally reckless, foolish, idiotic gambling with our wealth.  Mike Langford, the President of our union, sent the following letter to President Obama yesterday.

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