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Bay Area IWW Endorses "The Future of Railroads: Safety, Workers, Community & the Environment" Conference

Passed unanimously at the Bay Area IWW General Membership Branch meeting, Thursday, January 8, 2015

Whereas, there has been growing opposition to the transportation of volatile heavy and dirty crude by rail transport in recent months, and

Whereas, in 2013 there were more derailments of crude-by-rail trains than in the previous four decades combines, the most dramatic but not the last of which occurred in Lac Magantic, Quebec, and

Whereas, these derailments have resulted in destruction and death to residents of these communities, loss of life and limb to the railroad workers involved in the transport of these volatile cargoes, but little or no penalty to the profiteering employers responsible for the transport of such cargoes, and

Whereas, the opposition to such transport stems from the inherent danger to the affected communities as well as the environment--due to the destructive extraction process of the source material, the enabling of further extreme carbon fuel production and consumption, the destruction of wilderness environments, the pollution of the air and water, and the destruction of mostly indigenous lands from which the crude is extracted--and

Whereas, railroad workers are often blamed for these accidents through employer created "blame the worker" so-called "safety" cultures, and

Whereas, the actual safety hazards are the result of capitalist corner cutting, including--but not limited to--the reduction in railroad crew sizes, the deployment of overly long and heavy trains, the lack of safety monitoring equipment, and the use of unsafe tank cars, and

Whereas, railroads also carry a variety of other, equally volatile cargoes under no less unsafe conditions, but such cargoes are not scrutinized to the same extent as crude-by-rail by many environmental organizations, and

Whereas, the railroad workers and environmental organizers share a common adversary in the capitalist class who've created these conditions, and

Whereas, Railroad Workers United and the Backbone Campaign have committed to jointly sponsor a series of conferences, beginning on the Weekend of March 14-15 in Richmond, California and March 21-22 in Seattle, Washington to be entitled, “The Future of Rail: Safety, Workers, Community and the Environment”, and

Whereas, leaders in these efforts from Railroad Workers United include dues paying members of the IWW, including a member of the Bay Area IWW General Membership Branch who is also one of the cofounders of the IWW Environmental Unionism Caucus, and

Whereas, a post capitalist, ecologically sustainable society would involve increased use of transport by rail for both passengers and cargo (though not for climate destroying fossil fuels), therefore

Be it Resolved that, the Bay Area General Membership Branch of the IWW endorses "the Future of Rail: Safety, Workers, Community and the Environment" conferences organized by Railroad Workers United, the Backbone Campaign, et. al, and

Be it Finally Resolved that, the Bay Area General Membership Branch of the IWW further encourages all other IWW branches and the IWW General Executive Branch to likewise endorse the aforementioned efforts.

The Fine Print I:

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