Welcome to the of the Evolving Man Project’s ‘Evolved Man of the Week’ profiles. Each week we will highlight an individual that embodies what it means to be an evolved man, famous and non-famous men alike. The world needs to know their stories and deeds. This week’s honor goes to union organizer, founder of UnionBase.org, and labor coordinator for the Sierra Club, President of Progressive Workers Union, which represents staff and employees at the Sierra Club, America’s largest green group in Washington DC and across the country, Larry Williams Jr.
Larry Williams has led the charge, along with his colleagues at PWU, to challenge the status quo and rebuild the labor movement inside the Sierra Club and beyond. He’s pumping millennial blood into a fight that reached its zenith almost a century ago. Here is Mr. Williams in his own words:
“Workers in the 1930s led a union movement that changed the world…We can re-create that raw strength and use technology to leverage it.”
Larry Williams has spent the last five years and his own money developing a digital platform called UnionBase, which he’s positioning as both a social network for union members and an organizing vehicle for unions. Also, to his multiple roles in the world, Larry is connecting the fight for economic and social justice to the environmental movement. Again, here is Larry in his own words:
“The Sierra Club actively supports the RECLAIM Act and diversifying the economies of coal communities as America transitions to a clean energy economy, the Fight for $15 for low wage workers, the Our Wal-Mart campaign that supports thousands of low-wage Wal-Mart workers, and a whole host of other campaigns that are moving the needle toward racial, economic, and environmental justice.
Still, corporate media enforces the environment versus jobs narrative, portraying union members as “only concerned with their own interests at the expense of all others, including the environment” and environmentalists as only concerned with the planet even at the expense of jobs. Thorough historical analysis reveals these assumptions as untrue. In reality there is a “long record of environmental concern among unionized workers and their organizations that overlaps and intermingles with the sporadic news event that occasionally flares up between workers and environmentalists.”
I’ve had the pleasure of calling Larry Williams Jr. a great colleague and friend at the Sierra Club. The Evolving Man Project wishes him continued success as he builds solidarity and breathes new life into a labor movement that many had thought died a long ago. Today we honor Larry Williams Jr. as our Evolved Man of the Week.