Greener Workplaces: "A Win-Win for All"
Jim Clark is being recognized as a Champion of Change for his work demonstrating that corporate environmental leadership makes sense, both for business and for American communities.
I started working in manufacturing directly out of high school. I believe manufacturing is the backbone of our economy. Our country needs manufacturing to be strong. That’s why, as president of IUE-CWA, the Industrial Division of the Communications Workers of America, I have made it my mission to bring innovative and progressive programs to our shop floors – programs that make our plants more competitive and more efficient.
IUE-CWA has been involved in green jobs work for about five years. Our focus is not only on green products but on greening the process. As part of that goal last year we entered into a groundbreaking partnership with the Environmental Defense Fund. It is the first time EDF has partnered with a trade union. We launched a pilot program to train front line workers to conduct energy efficiency treasure hunts. They analyze energy use in the building and the production process, identify waste and come up with solutions.
It is amazing to see how enthusiastic our members are about reducing cost and saving the environment. Their focus and energy pushes their companies to form energy teams so the process continues long after we have left the building. A whole new awareness is reached. At each location, the response from top management is: “this is an eye opener.” The reaction is justified. On average, after just three days of work, we hand them annual savings close to $100,000. Most of the changes require very little investment to achieve.
It is a win-win for all. A more competitive plant – which means more job security. A more efficient plant – which means cost savings. And a more environmentally friendly plant – which means a cleaner world. Who can argue with any of those goals?
Jim Clark is the President of IUE-CWA, where he works with the joint IUE-CWA and Environmental Defense Fund project to focus awareness on energy saving opportunities in day-to-day operations and harness the knowledge and experience of workers to achieve those energy savings.