NYC’s Largest Public Employee Union DC 37 Explores Fossil Fuel Divestment

NYC’s Largest Public Employee Union Explores Fossil Fuel Divestment

District Council 37 forum focuses on environmental justice and divestment from fossil fuels

New York, NY — Today, New York City’s largest public employee union, District Council 37, gathered for a forum to discuss environmental justice and fossil fuel divestment. Representing more than 121,000 active members and 50,000 retirees, DC 37 considers environmental justice a union issue, and today’s forum approached fossil fuel divestment as a strategy to achieve climate justice.

Henry Garrido DC 37 Executive Director said, “Climate change is real, it’s here, and we need to do all we can to minimize its impact. For working men and women, this means looking at every option before us to protect the environment for our children and future generations.”

The forum featured prominent speakers from DC 37, local environmental groups such as 350NYC, representatives from the New York State Senate and the New York City Council, the Mayor’s Office of Pensions & Investments, the Institute for Energy Economics & Financial Analysis, and more.

“This forum provides an opportunity to explore what our options are. We are focused on ways to discourage companies from burning fossil fuels and to encourage development of alternative energy sources,” said Garrido.

Panels focused on current efforts to tackle climate change, ranging from local environmental initiatives to the global Paris climate agreement, as well as how divestment from fossil fuels can be a tool for climate justice and curbing the impacts of climate change. The speakers detailed a nationwide problem of pension systems under fiscal stress, and how climate investment risk compounds that stress. Speakers highlighted that divestment from fossil fuels is not only the just thing to do, but also could help protect the pension.

This comes just two days before and allied groups gear up to issue a new challenge to New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli and New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer to divest the City and State pension funds from all fossil fuels.

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