Labor and Green Transitions: Lessons from the USA
However, the approach recognizes that actors are embedded in and constituted within social institutions. A historically informed coalition approach cannot treat actors as atomistic interest groups that come to the arena independent of and equal to each other. The industrial and environmental relations of particular countries are the product of historical struggles and compromises that create path dependencies that variably enable and constrain the participating actors. An approach, then, that embeds coalitions within their historical and social contexts allows us to better understand the social-ecological purpose of the transition paths that emerge. While these contexts do influence the paths taken it is also evident that there is room for agency by unions and environmentalists.
This contribution draws on a long term study of the efforts of unions and environmentalists to influence the green transition in the US. It is based on an extensive and systematic review of the green transition positions of key labor unions, environmental organizations, green business associations, federal and subfederal governments, and selected corporations which are “allied” with unions and environmentalists. This review employs historical information, interviews, participant observation and close reading of primary and secondary material.