Blue-Green Alliances at the Level of Local Unions: Conditions for Successful Alliances

Tuesday, 17 July 2018
Distributed Paper
Akira SUZUKI, Ohara Institute for Social Research, Hosei University, Japan
This paper examines cases of “blue-green alliances” in the United States in the 1970s and 1980s, considering conditions which made such alliances relatively successful. It pays attention to cases in which local unions formed alliances with groups of residents concerned with (or affected by) environmental pollution and with state- or national-level anti-toxic organizations that supported residents’ groups. It hypothesizes that two conditions contributed to successful blue-green alliances: (1) whether the leadership of international unions were involved in and/or gave support to those local unions that had formed blue-green alliances, and (2) whether members of local unions were able to connect their exposure to toxic substances at their workplaces with the exposure of residents to polluted air, water and lands contaminated by toxic substances emitted from the plants. The cases to be examined include the alliance between OCAW and environmental organizations during the strike by OCAW’s locals at Shell Oil in 1973, the alliance between OCAW Local 4-620 (BASF), on one hand, and residents’ groups and an anti-toxic organization, on the other, during the BASF lockout from 1985-1989, and the alliance between UPIU Local 14 (International Paper) and environmental groups of residents and their supporters during IP strike from 1987 to 1988.