Sunday, June 7, 2009

JOBS: Buffalo's Blues, DC's Green Hope

Buffalo, the third-poorest city in the nation, has the blue-collar blues, due to more lost jobs as described in today's Buffalo News commentary and business reports below.

However, there is hope for Buffalo and other cities willing to invest in going Green and taking bold steps towards creating a clean energy economy. Hope springs from Washington DC, as conveyed by Van Jones, White House Special Advisor on Green Jobs, in a video interview below.

GM’s decline is sobering at the corner bar
- 6/7/2009

"I stopped in to chat about the GM bankruptcy—the Tonawanda plant was saved, but layoffs will hack the work force to barely 600. It is a skeletal remnant of the 4,350 who toiled there 20 years ago, overspilling into neighborhood bars and businesses.", writes Don Esmond.
"Technology and cheap Third World labor and miserable management and outdated union rules hacked away the plant’s jobs and buckled the neighborhood businesses that fed off of the behemoth. The left-behind feeling lingers like a bad aftertaste. Around here, GM’s bankruptcy merely confirmed the obvious." Read the full commentary in The Buffalo News.

Economy’s new math doesn’t add up
- 6/7/2009

We're losing Old Economy jobs faster than we're gaining New Economy jobs

"The news that bankrupt General Motors Corp. would cut upwards of 260 jobs at its Tonawanda Engine Plant—as much as 30 percent of its remaining work force—was further evidence that the loss of 20th Century jobs continues unabated.", writes David Robinson.
"We’ve lost 2 percent of our service jobs over the last year, while 4.5 percent of our factory jobs have vanished. That equates to losing an average of 50 manufacturing jobs a week over the last year." Read the full report in The Buffalo News.

Local auto parts suppliers shift gears
- 6/7/2009
Parts makers are cutting back, trying to find new customers
"The General Motors Corp. bankruptcy filing last week sent shock waves through the web of Western New York companies that supply the auto maker with parts and services.", writes Matt Glynn. Some 75-85 % of every GM automobile consists of components made by company suppliers, and these suppliers are equally dependent on GM. Read the full report in The Buffalo News.

Got Hope?

The writing is on the wall, and it is carved in stone. It is time for a permanent change in the way we do business...a Big Change, a Transformation.

We can manufacture fuel-efficient vehicles, hybrid cars and future electric cars here in America. We can manufacture parts for wind turbines, solar panels, geothermal systems and we can install these power sources to provide clean, renewable energy. We can upgrade our long-neglected railroad infrastructure (high-speed rail to NYC?). We can construct and retrofit homes and buildings to be more energy efficient. We can waste less, and save money. We can pollute less, and protect public health and the planet. Doing all of this will require new jobs that are good for both the economy and the environment, spark innovation, lift people out of poverty and put Americans back to work.

Van Jones has Hope
about new jobs. He is now the White House Special Advisor on Green Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. Jones' hope is supported by President Obama's promise to create 5 million Green-collar jobs over the next 10 years, pledging $60 billion from the $800 billion stimulus package to invest in clean energy and research for environmentally-friendly technologies, $5 billion to weatherize homes and save energy, and $500 million for green-job training.
Watch and listen to a video interview with Van Jones about Green Jobs that was aired recently on PBS:

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