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Gifford Pinchot Bridging Environmental and Labor in the Early 20th Century

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Published on Apr 20, 2010

Gifford Pinchot, America's first professionally trained forester rose to national prominence as a conservationist and political progressive under the patronage of President Theodore Roosevelt. He likely would have support the current movements uniting working people and their unions and environmentalists in building the new, green economy. Transforming the economy through renewable energy, energy efficiency, mass transit and rail, a new smart grid and other solutions to global warming, has the potential to create millions of jobs, while reducing global warming emissions. Pinchot was elected twice as Republican governor of Pennsylvania. As a politician he fought for wiser use of natural resources and for fuller justice for the average citizen. In 1922 Pinchot campaigned for governor of Pennsylvania and won a close election. The miners of anthracite coal struck twice during his first term of office. The first strike, in 1923, lasted only a week due to Pinchot's decisive arbitration. The strike of 1925 continued for six months and again Pinchot's forceful mediation was necessary. Pinchot called both sides for daily meetings, finally achieving a compromise. Because Pennsylvania governors were then prohibited from successive terms, Pinchot ran again for the Senate and lost. But in 1931, he began his second term as Pennsylvania's governor during the depression years. He successfully pressed for large reductions in utility rates and built twenty thousand miles of paved rural roads to "get the farmer out of the mud." Realizing that State aid would not be sufficient to curb the effects of the Depression, he was one of the first of the governors to decide that federal aid was needed. In 1933, the bituminous coal miners at U.S. Steel's "captive mines" struck. The mine owners refused to recognize the United Mine Workers union, despite federal law requiring collective bargaining. Pressure exerted by Pinchot and President Franklin D. Roosevelt caused the company to recognize the union. During his last year as governor, Pinchot ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination for election to the U.S. Senate. As usual, he received little assistance from the leaders of his party, whom he had greatly annoyed by supporting the economic recovery programs of Democrat Franklin Roosevelt. For more on Gifford Pinchot, go to http://www.fs.fed.us/gt/local-links/h... . For more on the current links between labor and the environment, go to http://www.sustainlabour-labourandenv... and to the Blue-Green Alliance website at http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/home . The US Blue Green Alliance is a national, strategic partnership between labor unions and environmental organizations dedicated to expanding the number and quality of jobs in the green economy. Launched in 2006 by the United Steelworkers and the Sierra Club, this unique labor-environmental collaboration has grown to include the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Laborers' International Union of North America (LIUNA), American Federation of Teachers (AFT), Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) and the Sheet Metal Workers' International Association. The Blue Green Alliance unites more than eight and a half million people in pursuit of good jobs, a clean environment and a green economy. The Blue Green Alliance works on issues ranging from energy and climate change to transportation to workers' rights and green chemistry. This was clipped from the 1986 film, Visions of the Wild, by the Department of Agriculture. Forest Service. Division of State and Private Forestry. Fire and Aviation Management Staff. The entire film has been digitized by the nonprofit Public.Resource.Org (http://public.resource.org/index.html ) in a cooperative agreement with the National Technical Information Service (http://public.resource.org/ntis.gov/i... ) and is available at the Internet Archive at www.archive.com .

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