Blue-green coalitions: fighting for safe workplaces and healthy communities
What do unions and environmental groups have to gain by working together and how do they overcome their differences? In Blue-Green Coalitions, Brian Mayer answers these questions by focusing on the role that health-related issues have played in creating a common ground between the two groups. By recognizing that the same toxics that cause workplace hazards escape into surrounding communities and the environment, workers and environmentalists are able to collaborate for the protection of all. Mayer examines three contemporary cases of successful labor-environmental alliances to demonstrate how health and safety issues are used to create durable and politically influential social movement coalitions: Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow, a coalition of environmental, labor, community, and public health organizations in Massachusetts that has developed a successful prevention-based approach to safe workplaces and a clean environment.The Work Environment Council in New Jersey, which succeeded in passing the first statewide right-to-know law and concentrates on protecting citizens from the dangerous toxics generated by the state's chemical industries.The Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition, an organization that began in the 1980s fighting hazardous high-tech practices that were affecting the Valley residents and the high-tech industry's largely immigrant workforce. In Mayer's ethnographic accounts of the challenging work of bringing these blue-green coalitions together, it becomes clear that stereotypes about environmentalists and workers are largely irrelevant when thinking about who is at risk of exposure to dangerous toxic substances. Both movements share a common concern for protecting their members' health from toxic hazards that are by-products of the modern industrial economy.
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A Forgotten History of Collaboration
Promoting Precaution to Prevent Harm
Fighting for the Right to Know
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action AFL-CIO agenda AHT's anti-toxics blue-green alliance blue-green coalitions bridge brokers challenge chemical security clean coalition building coalition leaders coalition's collaboration collective identity collective-action frame corporate COSH organizations create cross-movement coalitions developed Environment Council environmental activists environmental groups environmental health environmental justice environmental movement environmental organizations environmentalists exposures focused formation frame bridging global goals Gottlieb hazardous substances health and safety Healthy Tomorrow high-tech industry involved issues Jersey labor activists labor and environmental labor movement labor organizations labor unions labor-environmental coalitions legislation mainstream major manufacturing Massachusetts Mazzocchi ment movement literature Obach OCAW occupational health participation plant political opportunities pollution potential precautionary principle production protect public health regulations regulatory risk SCCOSH semiconductor shift Sierra Club Silicon Valley Toxics social movement Steelworkers strategy success SVTC SVTC's Teamsters three coalitions tion toxic substances Toxics Use Reduction Turtles and Teamsters Valley Toxics Coalition workers workplace