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Sierra Club Union Authorizes First-Ever Strike to Counter Union-Busting

Ben Jealous’ executive team refuses to meaningfully respond to strike platform

Washington D.C. – The tumultuous tenure of executive leadership under Ben Jealous at the Sierra Club has led to the first union strike authorization vote in the organization’s history. The Progressive Workers Union (PWU) National unit strike authorization vote closed at 8:00pm ET on Wednesday, with 155 out of 189 members casting an affirmative strike vote, or 82% approval. The strike will begin on Tuesday, July 2, 2024, unless the two parties are able to resolve their differences. PWU invited the Sierra Club to meet before the July 1 and July 3 mediation meetings currently scheduled. PWU has communicated to the Sierra Club repeatedly that mediation on the CBA alone will not resolve PWU’s strike. 

“Sierra Club is using the same corporate tactics against its own union that the organization decries when fighting polluting utilities, oil, and gas companies,” said CJ Garcia-Linz, President of Progressive Workers Union. “The strike is the culmination of Sierra Club’s anti-union actions that led to the filing of unfair labor practices and its attempt to gut major union safeguards as we negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement. PWU wants to avoid a strike, and we have welcomed Sierra Club to meet with union leaders if they are willing to seriously respond to the strike platform.”

PWU members are asking the Sierra Club to resolve the strike through the following:  

  • Address the outstanding Unfair Labor Practice charges that PWU filed with the National Labor Relations Board, including the cancellation of retaliatory firings targeting union leaders, including elected officials, bargaining team members, and stewards.
  • Come to an agreement with PWU on key contract provisions, bargain in good faith, and move away from anti–union proposals as outlined in the June 19 proposal submitted by the PWU National unit. 
  • Reduce layoffs and provide the strongest possible layoff package by accepting the PWU National unit’s offer to forgo their one time 7% raise, reinstate 12 laid off positions, and protect union jobs with a layoff moratorium through the end of 2025. 
  • Respect PWU’s right to grieve discrimination, harassment, intimidation, and toxic behavior.

“PWU’s plans to strike have never been just about money. PWU has actually offered to give up its hard fought across-the-board raise to save our members’ livelihoods. This strike is about management trying to take away crucial rights the union has secured in previous bargaining agreements and fighting illegal retaliation against our union and leaders. This strike is about preserving our job security and our dignity in the workplace.” said Erica Dodt, PWU Vice President-elect. “The reality is that over the last year, executive managers have given themselves raises during alleged budget deficits while our members have undergone two rounds of layoffs and back to back restructures, all under the administration of Ben Jealous. PWU members are willing to sacrifice raises to save jobs and support the climate justice movement, but regrettably the same cannot be said about Sierra Club’s leaders.”