Lindsay Patterson, President of United Steel Workers (USW) Local 404, needed a break from the hard work of negotiating a new contract for his union, and what better way to relax than a fishing trip! On October 23rd, Lindsay and other steelworkers from the union joined members of the Pennsylvania Clean Air Campaign on the Queen Mary, an ocean-going pleasure fishing vessel berthed in Point Pleasant Beach, NJ. The trip was a great success, both because of the fun we had catching a large haul of bluefish and because of the discussion of concerns shared by unions and environmentalists - both members of the Blue Green Alliance.
During the trip out to the fishing grounds, unionists and environmentalist had the opportunity to get to know one another - and exchange fish stories - in an informal setting. After about an hour's sailing, we set anchor and fished for several hours. Although it initially appeared that our shipmate Eric was going to catch all of the fish on the reef, we all eventually started getting bites, resulting in a haul of over sixty bluefish.
Exchange of Ideas
On the trip back to port, we met to discuss the issues that interest both unions and the Sierra Club, and how important our alliance is for everyone on the trip. Lindsay initially spoke of how environmental regulations help to secure good, American, green jobs. Lindsay has a long history of involvement in the Blue-Green Alliance, and spoke convincingly of the urgent need for unions to work with the Sierra Club to support upcoming EPA regulations. He further emphasized the importance of taking action, and provided the group with literature about how to get involved in supporting green jobs initiatives.
Next, William Kramer, the Sierra Club field organizer for the Pennsylvania Clean Air Campaign, lent his support to Lindsay's message, and outlined our current campaign for putting pressure on our legislators to support the EPA. In particular, he explained the importance of the mercury rules for keeping our fish healthy and mercury-free. William then recruited those in the audience to join our team of writers, who are submitting letters to the editor for publication in local news media, and to join us in public events to support the EPA. The evening ended with a renewed understanding of how important the affiliation between unions and the Sierra Club is (not to mention, the added bonus of a bounty of bluefish fillets for each participant).
For additional pictures of the trip, take a look at the fishing trip album at PAcleanAir's Flickr photostream.