by Paul Garver
The Boston Teachers Union — which represents 10,000 current and retired teachers and other school professionals — voted this month to endorse divestment of the state pension fund from fossil fuels. Report in The Boston Globe at http://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2015/09/18/teachers-union-calls-for-pension-fund-dump-fossilfuels/4pLiKuoo0oMWKTCHrIXJWN/story.html.
Boston Teachers Union president Richard Stutman explains his union’s endorsement: “If you don’t do something about global warming, our pensions won’t matter.”
The Massachusetts public employee pension fund, PRIM, holds about $62 billion. Legislation is currently pending in the Massachusetts legislature that would require PRIM to identify and divest its fossil fuel holdings completely within five years.
In addition to the Boston Teachers Union [an affiliate of the Massachusetts Teachers Association/AFT] the fossil fuels divestment bill has been endorsed by public employee unions SEIU 888, SEIU 509 and and the Massachusetts Nurses Association [National Nurses United].
There is a strong movement on Boston area campuses, including Harvard, Tufts and MIT, demanding that their universities divest their portfolios from fossil fuels.
MIT could be on the brink of a historic win for divestment. The school’s own advisory committee has backed divestment from carbon-intensive fossil fuels and from climate denying corporations as part of a multi-faceted climate action plan.
MIT Fossil Free is planning a week of climate events leading up to the next MIT board meeting on October 2. The week will culminate in a massive rally from 12-2 pm on October 2 at Kresge Oval.
Massachusetts unions and student groups are engaged in the fight for climate justice state that they are in the fight against the fossil fuel industry for the long haul.