Interior Department and AFL-CIOís Union Sportsmenís Alliance to Sign Agreement to Restore Parks and Other Public Lands
United States Department of the Interior
The agreement, which will be signed at the Union Sportsmenís Allianceís Annual Conservation Gala in the nationís capital, will pair the Union Sportsmenís Alliance all-volunteer "Work Boots on the Ground" program with shovel-ready projects on public lands.
"This agreement with the AFL-CIO and the Union Sportsmenís Alliance is really a win-win," said Secretary Jewell. "Not only will our nationís parks and public lands benefit from the expert labor, but many young people will have an opportunity to work alongside the volunteers, learning about the great outdoors and gaining important trade skills. I applaud the Union Sportsmenís Alliance for their work to continue to strengthen the nation through volunteer efforts that will make a big difference in conservation projects across the country."
The MOU outlines a mutual commitment to the cooperative "Work Boots on the Ground" program among the Department of the Interior and its three land-managing bureaus - the National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service and Bureau of Land Management - and the AFL-CIO, acting through the Union Sportsmenís Alliance.
"Americaís workers are committed to doing our part to save our nationís parks and restore our public lands," said Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO. "The USA was established to unite the union community for conservation under a single banner, to protect our most precious and beautiful lands, waters and wild spaces."
There are already "Work Boots on the Ground" projects identified as Ďshovel-readyí in Illinois, Ohio, Virginia, Minnesota, Maryland, Nevada, Texas and Wisconsin.
"When our union members show up with their tool belts on, they have the skills and training to get the job done," said Fred Myers, Union Sportsmenís Alliance Executive Director and CEO. "To every conservation project they take on, they bring an unmatched work-ethic, superior trade skills and a desire to give back to their community."
The Union Sportsmenís Alliance created the all-volunteer "Work Boots on the Ground" program in 2010 to provide a framework to recruit and coordinate members of the labor union community to volunteer their expert trade skills for conservation projects. In 2013, the Union Sportsmenís Alliance announced the launch of its park program. Since then, park projects have been completed in several states, saving agencies thousands of dollars. The park projects are in addition to many other "Work Boots on the Ground" projects around the country, including Get Youth Outdoors Day and Take Kids Fishing Day events in three cities.
The Union Sportsmenís Alliance reports there are more than 7 million union members who recreate regularly in the outdoors, making them one of the nationís largest single constituencies of outdoor users.
Todayís agreement complements the Interior Departmentís youth initiative to inspire millions of veterans and young people to play, learn, serve and work outdoors. The Memorandum of Understanding emphasizes that, when possible, the AFL-CIO and Union Sportsmenís Alliance will work collaboratively with youth and veteran corps in order to share experience and expertise.