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Confront climate crisis while addressing historic inequities in communities of color

Current proposals lack strong labor provisions that would begin building a cleaner future.

Utility workers install power lines at the intersection of Illinois Route 47 and Washington Street in Oswego.
Steven Buyansky/Sun-Times

The Sun-Times missed an opportunity in its weekend editorial to remind the leaders in Springfield that any clean energy legislation and utility reforms passed this spring must put working people at the center.

Current proposals lack strong labor provisions that would begin building a cleaner future. Without proactive measures to put union laborers to work, the evidence already exists as to how the private sector will proceed. Of the 28 utility-scale wind projects under construction in the U.S., just seven are union projects and 21 are non-union. Of the current 61 utility-scale U.S. solar projects under construction, just six are using all-union labor. That shouldn’t happen in Illinois.

SEND LETTERS TO: letters@suntimes.com. Please include your neighborhood or hometown and a phone number for verification purposes. Letters should be 350 words or less.

In Illinois, we have the chance to do this the right way. By advocating for bold clean energy investments with comprehensive labor standards — through prevailing wages, apprenticeship requirements, labor peace and project labor agreements and responsible bidder requirements — we can address the climate crisis while addressing historic inequities in communities of color. By actively recruiting individuals from historically disadvantaged communities, preparing them for lifelong careers in the clean energy sector, we can ensure that this work will be built locally by highly-trained workers from Illinois to benefit generations to come.

This is the roadmap for us all to move toward a cleaner, fairer future in Illinois. The leaders in Springfield must take the right path forward.

Patrick Briggs, Laborer Steward for LIUNA Local 2

Republican reruns

Sen. Ted Cruz, NRA-Texas, said of the recent mass shootings, “Every time there’s a shooting, we play this ridiculous theater where this committee gets together and proposes a bunch of laws that would do nothing to stop these murders.” Ridiculous theater? What do Cruz and his fellow Republicans propose? Ridiculous reruns of more thoughts, more prayers and more guns.

Bob Barth, Edgewater

Vaccine patience

To Jeffrey Mark, who wrote a letter about his struggle with vaccine availability:

Be patient. I’m in the 80-plus years range and had signed up at numerous places. I go went recently for my first vaccine and already have a date for my second. And the beauty of mine — it’s a location very near where I live. You will get there I’m sure.

Virginia Dare McGraw, Naperville