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EcoWobbles - EcoUnionist News #129

Compiled by x344543 - IWW Environmental Unionism Caucus, December 2, 2016

News of interest to green unionists:

About 500 iron ore jobs to go at Rio Tinto - By Cecilia Jamasmie, Mining.Com, November 21, 2016 - World's second largest miner Rio Tinto (ASX, LON:RIO) is cutting more jobs across its iron ore division in Western Australia as part of a major restructuring of its most profitable division, announced in June.

A Bold Clean-Up Plan for Alberta’s Giant Oil Industry Pollution Liabilities - By Andrew Nikiforuk, The Tyee, November 4, 2016 - Regan Boychuk and Brent O’Neil have a bold proposal to put Alberta back to work and onto a more sustainable path.

Canadian government announces a phase-out of “traditional” coal-fired electricity by 2030 - By Elizabeth Perry, Work and Climate Change Report, November 21, 2016 - The CBC article quotes Warren Mabee, a researcher with the Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces to Climate Change project and the associate director of the Queen’s Institute for Energy and Environmental Policy: he states that many workers in coal mines will be laid off  “while others will shift to extracting metallurgical coal, which is used in the steel-making process.”  It is important to note that the government press release explicitly promises:“ The Government of Canada will work with provinces and labour organizations to ensure workers affected by the accelerated phase-out of traditional coal power are involved in a successful transition to the low-carbon economy of the future.”

Coal Entrenches Poverty, Drives Climate Change - By Lyndal Rowlands, Truthout, November 21, 2016 - Coal power does more to harm the world's poor than to help them, even before the devastating impacts of climate change are taken into account, according to a recent report published by 12 international development organisations.

Death toll rises on Turkish mine cave-in as BBC journalist detained - By Andrew Topf, Mining.Com, November 27, 2016 - It appears the Turkish government is attempting to suppress criticism of a mine disaster last weekend that killed 12 miners and left four still missing.

Drivers vote for walkouts as Southern rail's crisis grows - By Raymie Kiernan, Socialist Worker, November 29, 2016 - Train Drivers on Southern rail have voted by 87 percent to strike. The firm has claimed that “unofficial industrial action” will cost it £38 million this year. But it is in the firm’s interest to use this “estimated” figure as an excuse for failing to hit targets—and possibly avoid fines.

Factoring sustainable labour into the sustainable food equation - By Anna Rohleder, Sustainable Food Trust, November 10, 2016 - What makes food sustainable? It’s a complicated equation that encompasses the thriving microbial life of soil, rich biodiversity, balanced ecosystems and land and water free from pollution. But, in addition to a healthy environment, it’s increasingly about people – the people who produce and make your food.

Fall in Exxon stock leads employee to sue over company’s 401(k) - By LM Sixel, FuelFix, November 29, 2016 - A retired engineer from Exxon Mobil Corp. alleges the giant energy company violated its responsibility to protect employee financial interests by continuing to offer Exxon Mobil stock for its 401(k) retirement plan while knowing the company’s stock was artificially inflated in value, according to a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Houston last week.

Farmworkers on Edge After Trump Elected President - By Brian Barth, Modern Farmer, November 10, 2016 - One of the great ironies in the election of Donald Trump as the next president of the United States is that the agricultural heartland of the country voted overwhelmingly for a candidate who pledged to deport millions of undocumented workers, a move that would undermine the agricultural workforce and ripple out in the food economy in unforeseen, but likely negative, ways.

Former Coal Worker Finds New Career in Solar - By Diana Madson, Yale Climate Connections, November 22, 2016 - The renewable energy industry not only benefits the environment, it can also grow the economy.

4 workers killed in Cuba bridge collapse - By Andrew Topf, Mining.Com, November 23, 2016 - Tragedy struck Canadian company Sherritt (TSX:S) on Tuesday, with news that a bridge collapsed, killing four workers.

From Across the Country, Gifts of Tiny Houses Arrive for Standing Rock - By Jane Braxton Little, Yes! Magazine, November 23, 2016 - “This feels like a new America I want to be a part of,” said Musselwhite, 41, a carpenter and woodworker based in a rural community tucked into the mountains that cross the Oregon-California border.

If Trump Goes Hard on Immigration, Who Will Grow, Process, and Serve Our Food? - By Elizabeth Grossman, CivilEats, November 29, 2016 -  We know that farmers overwhelmingly supported President-Elect Donald Trump in this election. But how does that support square with how his immigration policy could impact the agricultural workforce? And perhaps the more pointed question might be: If Trump goes through with his campaign promises, who exactly will provide the bulk of the labor that goes into producing our food?

MTA blocks Transport Workers Union's gory 'political' ad showing employees injured on the job - By Dan Rivoli, New York Daily News, November 21, 2016 - The MTA has blocked a city transit union ad showing injuries that four transit employees suffered after being assaulted on the job, officials said Monday.

Mine workers in Fiji not covered by Health and Safety laws - By Felix Chaudhary, Fiji Times, November 26, 2016 - THE mining sector is not covered under the country’s Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) legislation, an issue that the Fiji Trades Union Congress is very concerned about.

Mississippians bring the Wendy’s Boycott to the Deep South! - By staff, Coalition of Immokalee Workers, November 23, 2016 - After nearly two decades, and thousands upon thousands of protests from Maine to California, there are very few corners of this great land of ours that the Campaign for Fair Food has yet to reach.   But today, we are pleased to bring you news of a new milestone in the Fair Food movement —  a photo report from the campaign’s first-ever splash in Jackson, Mississippi!

National religious leaders visit CIW, fields, learn first-hand about the Fair Food Program! - By staff, Coalition of Immokalee Workers, November 21, 2016 - Leaders of Presbyterian Church (USA), T’ruah bear witness to transformative changes underway in FL agricultural industry thanks to the Fair Food movement, commit to spread Wendy’s Boycott nationally.

Nurses, Labor Unions and Others Celebrate Defeat of TPP! - By Pattie Lockard, Nurse Talk Radio, November 22, 2016 - RN and Co-President of National Nurses United, Deborah Burger joins us this week to talk about the People’s Rally that converged in D.C. to celebrate the defeat of the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) and chart a path ‘Forward Together’. Nurses and other organizations have been fighting against the TPP for over 4 years now and are largely responsible for its demise. "It's a movement, and it doesn't matter who's in the White House, rather it matters who's in the streets", said Executive Director of NNU RoseAnn DeMoro.

Over 1500 police personnel unleash brutal attack on peasants in Mekar Jaya village, Indonesia - By staff, La Via Campesina, November 22, 2016 - Over 1500 police personnel launched a despicable attack on peasant members of SPI (Indonesian Peasants' Union), in Langkat District of North Sumatra Province of Indonesia and exterminated hundreds of acres of peasant land, so as to favour a foreign plantation companies. Several protesting peasants were severly injured in this brutal attack that took place on the 18th of November in Mekar Jaya village.

Potash Corp cuts production, lays off 140 from Cory mine - By Cecilia Jamasmie, Mining.Com, November 23, 2016 - The Saskatoon, Saskatchewan-based company said approximately 100 full-time workers and 40 temporary positions are being laid off. Most of the cuts will take place in February with the remainder during the company’s 2017 third quarter.

Reminders Why Palin Would be Terrible Interior Secretary - By Kirsten Stade, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, November 22, 2016 - With Sarah Palin’s name being floated as a potential Secretary of the Interior in a Trump administration, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) points to her record as Alaska Governor as cause for concern. Her fervid fossil-fuel advocacy, leading “Drill, Baby, Drill” cheers in the months leading up to the disastrous BP Gulf of Mexico spill, is only a small sample of what could be expected if she becomes America’s chief natural resource protection official.

Significant opposition as Philadelphia transit workers ratify contract - By Alan Whyte, World Socialist Web Site, November 21, 2016 - After a powerful strike, which shut down Philadelphia’s transit system from November 1 to November 7, workers ratified an agreement last Friday between the Transport Workers Union Local (TWU) 234 and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority by a vote of 1,982 for and 760 against.

Thousands of Fight for 15 protesters rise up in 340 cities across the US - By Steven Greenhouse, Guardian, November 29, 2016 - Thousands of Fight for 15 supporters chanted, marched, sat in and got arrested in 340 cities across the US on Tuesday, declaring that they won’t back down no matter who is in the White House.

Toronto’s Greenprint advocates a network of union environmental advocates - By Elizabeth Perry, Work and Climate Change Report, November 21, 2016 - “The Labour Council is proposing to establish a network of environmental advocates to power the climate change agenda both within workplaces and in society as a whole.”  Environmental representatives “would function in much the same manner as health and safety reps do under current Ontario legislation”, and based on existing models in Canada and Britain, could be involved in “waste audits; supply chain reviews; reviews of the movement of materials; identifying ways to re-use excess energy or heat; suggesting improvements around staff commuting.”

Trump’s promises are empty when it comes to energy - By Jonathan Thompson, High Country News, November 28, 2016 - Most of the local industry folks quoted by the Farmington Daily Times said that President-elect Donald Trump would relax regulations on drilling on public land. Meanwhile, over on Facebook, energy workers were ecstatic, convinced that a President Trump would put them back to work almost immediately. They should know better.

Trump vows to create jobs by cutting regulations. That won’t work - By Katie Herzog, Grist, November 22, 2016 - Fossil fuel jobs have been in decline not because of overregulation, but due to the low prices of gas, oil, and coal. (That said, those prices are forecast to rise again.)

Via Campesina at the Global Dialogue on the International Year of Pulses - By staff, La Via Campesina, November 25, 2016 - Elizabeth Mpfou, general coordinator of La Via Campesina and a small holder farmer who also leads the Zimbabwe Small Holder Farmers' Forum (ZIMSOFF), made a presentation at the Global Dialogue held in Rome as part of the International Year of Pulses (IYP) on the 23rd of November 2016. She is also the IYP Special Ambassador for Africa region.

Will Trudeau government's decision to phase out coal bring job losses and more nuclear? - By Karl Nerenberg, Rabble.Ca, November 22, 2016 - A sane climate change strategy will have to take into account the legitimate concerns of those who work in polluting industries. They are reasonable and good people, who just want to make a living and support their families.

Will Workplace Safety Survive a Trump Presidency? - BY Elizabeth Grossman, In These Times, November 23, 2016 - On the campaign trail, Donald Trump repeatedly promised to bring back U.S. factory jobs. The message resonated with blue-collar workers and Trump’s success is credited, in large part, to voters who have seen their jobs disappear and livelihoods diminish as U.S. manufacturing companies moved toward automation or just plain moved—to places with lower labor costs, like Mexico. Trump also campaigned on a promise to eliminate regulations, a position now central to his incoming administration’s policies.

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