A Woman Steel Worker Leads Environmental Jobs Effort
As a steel worker, Cathy Gunderson had already chosen an unusual career path for a woman. After many years in this demanding job, she was laid off when her plant was closed. She was left with a feeling of wanting to make a positive difference. Having seen first-hand how much energy is required to make steel, she was concerned about the impact on our environment.
But she was also concerned about the lack of job opportunities in her hometown of Spokane, Washington, which was experiencing significant unemployment following the shutdowns of local plants. Through her church, she started talking with others and discovered a way to create jobs that would also help the environment. She and leaders from other churches and unions have been the backbone in the creation of something called SustainableWorks, a newly formed nonprofit business entity dedicated to creating jobs and conserving energy.
Cathy has led neighborhood door-knocking efforts, trained others to speak to their neighbors, has spoken in churches, neighborhood council meetings, union meetings and led neighborhood gatherings of more than 100 people. She also has spoken to the mayor, city council and county commissioners to encourage them to not only make energy efficiency a priority for their communities, but also for their own homes.