Caregiver Union Joins Broad-Based Coalition to Fight Oil and Gas Pollution in California

August 4, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 4, 2020

Contact
Kobi Naseck 214-609-2439 [email protected],
Cherie Parker  619-806-4677 [email protected]

 

UDW/AFSCME Local 3930 to Co-sponsor AB 345

Caregiver Union Joins Broad-Based Coalition to Fight Oil and Gas Pollution in California

SACRAMENTO—United Domestic Workers of America (UDW/AFSCME 3930), a union representing over 118,000 home care workers in California, stepped up its commitment to environmental justice by signing on as co-sponsors of AB 345 this week, a bill that would keep oil and gas extraction sites away from sensitive communities.

Though California leads the world on many environmental issues, it also ranks among the top five oil producing states and has numerous industrial oil operations sited dangerously close to homes, schools, and healthcare and childcare facilities. Oil production sites use and emit fine and ultra-fine particulate matter, hydrogen sulfide and known carcinogens and endocrine disruptors such as benzene and formaldehyde. Proximity to oil development causes and contributes to health effects such as headaches, upper respiratory illness, nausea, nosebleeds, increased cancer risk, and infertility. Those most likely to live near an oil extraction site in California are also those likely to be most negatively impacted: low-income families and families of color.

Passing AB 345 would put California on a path to creating common-sense health and safety buffers between oil extraction sites, the pollutants they generate, and communities already overburdened with some of the worst pollution in the country.

UDW joins more than 270 environmental justice, public health, education, political, and other labor organizations who have signed on as supporters of AB 345. One of the first unions in the country to be founded by people of color four decades ago, UDW members have consistently championed issues of social and economic justice and fought to protect the health, safety, and economic well-being of their communities. With a membership of low-income workers who are by majority women and people of color, UDW’s co-sponsorship of AB 345 marks a crucial–and logical–new partnership between the labor and the environmental justice movements.

As the California Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee prepares to vote on AB 345 on Wednesday, August 5th, UDW joined the Voices In Solidarity Against Oil in Neighborhoods (VISIÓN) coalition, the original sponsor of the bill, to release the following statements:

“We represent over 6,500 home care workers in Kern County alone. Last year, The American Lung Association named its largest city, Bakersfield, as the city with the worst air quality in America,” said Doug Moore, Executive Director of UDW.“Our members are low income women and people of color and we are tired of our communities being the first choice for environmental hazards. We support AB 345 because the people who breathe the air and drink the water should have a say in where oil and gas extraction sites are located.”

“For too long, our opponents have used a false dichotomy of ‘labor vs. the environment’ to divide us. This is a bill that protects the health and safety of workers and their families who are continuously exposed to fossil fuel pollution, on and then off the job. We’re thrilled to elevate the stories of home care and child care workers who all too often are among the first and worst affected by fossil fuel pollution in California,” said Kobi Naseck, VISIÓN Coalition Coordinator.

“We are excited to welcome United Domestic Workers as a co-sponsor of AB 345. Workers and residents suffer the same harm when dangerous land uses, like oil/gas extraction, occur near homes or workplaces.“ said Ingrid Brostrom, Assistant Director of the Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment.

AB 345 passed the California State Assembly in January 2020 and will be heard by the California Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee on Wednesday, August 5th.

 

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