This year, the United States has an enormous opportunity to invest in a clean energy-driven economic recovery that will support millions of good-paying union jobs, confront environmental injustice, and prevent the worst impacts of climate change. On March 31, President Joe Biden released the American Jobs Plan calling for major job-creating public investments in clean energy industries, clean infrastructure, and innovation. This plan would simultaneously confront the climate challenge; drive investment in high-quality, family-supporting jobs; and build worker power by including high-road labor standards and expanding the right to organize.1
Importantly, the enormous opportunity now facing the nation—the creation of millions of good union jobs to build a clean energy-driven economic recovery—flows in great measure from lessons learned through successful state leadership. The Center for American Progress and League of Conservation Voters have argued that state, tribal, and local governments are laying a road map for jobs, justice, and climate solutions.2 These include actions taken to promote job quality in new and fast-growing clean energy industries; efforts to expand existing industries that support union jobs critical to the clean economy, such as in transportation, water infrastructure, and manufacturing; and efforts to advance labor standards and the right to organize, ensure government spending does not undercut workers’ ability to bargain collectively, and promote local hiring and equitable access to good jobs. This report provides an illustrative overview of state and local progress and how it can inform federal action in 2021.