Houston Principles of the Alliance for Sustainable Jobs
and the Environment
accumulation of wealth by corporations and America's most affluent
during the past two decades has come with a huge price tag.
On May 19, 1999,
environmental and labor leaders confronted CEO Charles Hurwitz in
Houston to demand that his Maxxam Corporation, which owns Kaiser
Aluminum and Pacific Lumber Company, be held accountable for its
impact on working people, communities and the environment.
By clear-cutting ancient redwoods in Northern California,
and by locking out striking steelworkers in five cities, the Maxxam
Corporation and its subsidiaries, Pacific Lumber Company and Kaiser
Aluminum Corporation, have become icons of corporate
irresponsibility. Recognizing that we have a common interest in
making corporations more accountable for their behavior world wide,
environmental and labor leaders have formed the Alliance for
Sustainable Jobs and the Environment and circulated the following
statement, dubbed the "Houston Principles":
Corporations have become more powerful than
the government entities designed to regulate them.
The goal of a giant, global corporation is to maximize
wealth and to wield political power on its own behalf. Too often,
corporate leaders regard working people, communities, and the
natural world as resources to be used and thrown away.
Recognizing the tremendous stakes, labor unions and
environmental advocates are beginning to recognize our common
ground. Together we can challenge illegitimate corporate authority
over our country's and communities' governing decisions.
While we may not agree on everything, we are determined
to accelerate our efforts to make alliances as often as possible.
We believe that:
A healthy future for the economy and the environment requires a
dynamic alliance between labor, management, and environmental
The same forces that threaten
economic and biological sustainability undermine the democratic
The drive for short-term profits
without regard for long-term sustainability hurts working people,
communities, and the earth.
environmental and community groups need to take action to organize
as a counter-balance to abusive corporate power.
The environmental and labor advocates who have signed
these principles resolve to work together to:
Remind the public that the original purpose behind the
creation of corporations was to serve the public interest —
namely working people, communities, and the earth.
Seek stricter enforcement of labor laws and advocate for
new laws to guarantee working people their right to form unions and
their right to bargain collectively.
workplaces, communities and the planet safer by reducing waste and
greenhouse gas emissions.
Demand that global
trade agreements include enforceable labor and environmental
Promote forward-thinking business
models that allow for sustainability over the long term while
protecting working people, communities, and the environment.
This ground-breaking alliance of labor and
environmentalists invites all people to join with us in a spirit of
creative cooperation. Together, we can forge a partnership that
protects people and the planet..