Experts' profiles - David Foster
David Foster
David Foster is the executive director of the Blue Green Alliance, the fast-growing national partnership between labor unions and environmental organizations dedicated to expanding the green economy and advancing workers rights around the world. Composed of the United Steelworkers, Sierra Club, Communications Workers of America (CWA), Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA) and Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the Alliance unites more than six million people in pursuit of good jobs, a clean environment and a green economy.
Foster sits on the Advisory Committee of the Alliance for Climate Protection, chaired by former Vice President Al Gore. He is also co-chair, with Mayors R.T. Rybak of Minneapolis and Christopher B. Coleman of Saint Paul, of the Mayors Initiative on Green Manufacturing. Foster serves as adjunct faculty at the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota, teaching on the challenges to industrial unions in the global economy. He has also taught in the Masters in Advocacy and Public Policy at the University of Minnesota-Duluth.

From 1989-2006, Foster served as Director of United Steelworkers District 11, a 13-state region spanning from Minnesota to Washington State and Alaska. The districts diverse membership of 43,000 includes iron ore and other mineral miners, steel, aluminum, tire, oil and gas workers, and health-care employees. From 1990-2006, he served on USWs International Executive Board governing union affairs in the U.S. and Canada. His responsibilities included negotiating with many of the countrys largest steel, iron ore and aluminum companies.
Foster has spoken on trade, global warming, and environmental issues to labor and management audiences in the U.S., Canada, Europe and Japan, and in 2003, co-chaired the USWs initiative to establish a global network of unions in the aluminum industry. Foster and his district were the principal labor organizers and hosts of the successful Seattle World Trade Organization protests in 1999. He was also a leader in the unions effective participation in the Miami protests of the Free Trade Area of the Americas agreement in 2003.

For the past 20 years, Foster has been among the labor movements leading environmental advocates. He was chair of the USWs International Executive Board task force on environmental policy and he has vigorously worked to bridge the divide between workers and environmentalists in the Northwest and throughout the U.S.

In 1999, Foster climbed a 180-foot redwood tree to meet with activist Julia Butterfly Hill to help forge an alliance between environmental activists protesting the clear cutting by Maxxam's Pacific Lumber and the union members fighting against the job cuts at Maxxam's Kaiser Aluminum facilities. In an effort to learn more about the issues facing native Alaskans as a result of proposals to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife refuge, Foster spent two weeks on a fact-finding mission above the Arctic Circle, meeting with community leaders and residents.
In 2004, Foster was awarded the Jane Lehman Bagley Award from the Tides Foundation for his work building labor-environmental coalitions in the United States.
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