ThinkProgress Green is reporting live from the Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting in New York City.
A billion-dollar collaboration between unions and public pension funds is spearheading a nationwide effort to invest in energy efficient infrastructure projects. Along with the AFL-CIO, the American Federation of Teachers was critical to the establishment of this Clinton Global Initiative commitment, engaging a broad group of unions and public pension funds, including CalSTERS, California’s teacher pension fund.
ThinkProgress Green interviewed AFT President Randi Weingarten to find out why the nation’s largest teacher’s union got involved in a green jobs program which doesn’t have a direct connection to the educational system. Weingarten explained that America’s teachers believe in a stronger America, in which working people help each other:
If you actually believe in America, and believe in the American dream, and believe that we need to get people back to work and we need to build things, instead of waiting for other people to do it, you figure out the hows. You try to figure out how you can take and utilize — as long as they are fiduciarily sound investments — pension funds, which are working people’s capital, and put that to work for other working people.
The commitment of the American Federation of Teachers is also intergenerational, in keeping with the fundamental purpose of the educational profession. Teachers “want to make a difference in the lives of kids,” and rebuilding our nation’s crumbling infrastructure while fighting pollution does that. “If we create a stronger economy, we will have a stronger America. And frankly, a stronger economy and stronger educational opportunity go hand in hand,” Weingarten concluded.