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Know the West

Green and steel - together at last

  When junk bonder Charles Hurwitz bought up Kaiser Aluminum and Pacific Lumber, then accelerated cutting of ancient California redwoods and locked out his employees, he didn't know he was creating a new political movement. Yet outrage at Hurwitz's tactics forged an unconventional alliance between labor and environmentalism. Just six months ago, locked-out United Steelworkers members and forest activists announced the formation of the Alliance for Sustainable Jobs and the Environment to fight unsavory corporate practices.

At a rally last October in Spokane, Wash., burly Steelworker Don Kegley and an environmentalist named "Felony" staged a sham wedding to celebrate the alliance. Since then, the movement has been gaining steam fast. Alliance members protested the Seattle World Trade Organization meeting in November and marched in Washington against the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. The group is drafting criteria to identify both rogue and model companies and is pursuing trade policies that protect labor and the environment. In early April, the Alliance held its first membership meeting. Steelworker Kegley and environmentalist Tracy Katelman were elected co-chairs of the organization.

For more information, write the Alliance for Sustainable Jobs and the Environment, P.O. Box 3536, Eureka, CA 95502, or call 707/443-1783.

Copyright © 2000 HCN and Carolyn McConnell