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EcoWobbles - EcoUnionist News #146

Compiled by x344543 - IWW Environmental Unionism Caucus, March 31, 2017

News of interest to green unionists:

AFL-CIO Analysis of President Donald Trump’s FY 2018 Budget - By Carolyn Bobb, AFL-CIO, March 16, 2017 - The budget abandons the future—slashing investments in workers, communities, young people, protecting our environment and building democracy. There are major cuts in job training, education, health programs, the environment, the arts and foreign aid. Research programs in science and medicine are slashed. Sixty-two government programs/agencies are slated for elimination.

Anadarko lays off 60 after sale of Eagle Ford holdings - By LM Sixel, FuelFix, March 24, 2017 - About 60 employees at Anadarko Petroleum Corp. were laid off Thursday after the company sold its assets in the Eagle Ford Shale, a large oil and natural gas field in South Texas.

Approving The Keystone XL Pipeline Is About Our Future - By Roy L Hales, The EcoReport, March 24, 2017 - Tim Pearson of Sierra Club BC recently called subsides like these “1950s thinking in response to 2017’s challenges …. Every million dollars invested in fossil fuels generates two jobs. That same million dollars would deliver 15 jobs via renewable energy projects.”

Arkansas Governor Signs “Ag-gag” Into Law - By Cody Carlson, Mercy for Animals, March 23, 2017 - Arkansas’s ag-gag law aims to stop this progress by preventing undercover investigations and sweeping evidence of animal abuse and other crimes under the rug. It’s also written so broadly that it could be used to sue whistleblowers in almost any workplace. Clearly lawmakers in Arkansas know the state’s factory farmers have a lot to hide if they are willing to go to such extreme lengths to conceal their cruel and abusive practices.

Australian Workers Union presses for energy reform as Rio Tinto announces job losses, production cut - By Leo Oliver, International Business Times, March 7, 2017 - AWU Queensland Secretary Ben Swan said Pacific Aluminium’s Gove refinery was shuttered, causing the termination of 1,500 jobs, as it could not secure a gas supply. On the other hand, Arrium’s Whyalla steelworks, Alcoa’s Portland aluminium smelter and BHP Billiton’s Olympic Dam were enduring electricity outages and rising costs.

Bharatiya Kisan Union backs Tamil Nadu farmers protesting with human skulls in New Delhi - By staff, La Via Campesina, March 28, 2017 - BKU offered support to their demands for a complete loan waiver, fair and profitable price for their produce, drought relief and mitigation measures, including inter-linking of rivers.

Bill to Disclose Ingredients in Cleaning Products Gets Hearing - By Monica Amarelo, Environmental Working Group, March 29, 2017 - Consumers and professional cleaning workers have a right to know what’s in the products they buy and use. Some chemicals in cleaning products have been linked to cancer, infertility, birth defects, asthma, allergies and burns, but companies don’t have to disclose what’s in their products.

Budget shows low-carbon future is imminent - By Peter McCartney, Wilderness Committee, March 22, 2017 - “This budget makes some significant investments in clean tech, public transit and green jobs – an acknowledgment that climate change is a top priority,” said Peter McCartney, Climate Campaigner at the Wilderness Committee. “Since this government clearly knows where the world is heading, why pretend like the tar sands have a future?”

Coal Is Losing. But Coal Country Doesn’t Have to Lose, Too  - By Stephen Lacey, GreenTech Media, March 23, 2017 - On this week’s Energy Gang podcast, we look at the accelerating pace of coal closures around the U.S. and the world—and the plan to help communities that rely on coal.

Coalition of Immokalee Workers news:

Federal Scientists Find Delta Tunnels Plan Will Devastate Salmon - By Dan Bacher, CounterPunch, March 24, 2017 - "This project will not only destroy the salmon, but it also threatens the jobs of the thousands of people who depend on healthy salmon runs, including fishermen, tackle shops, boat shops, launch ramp operators, marinas, and many others," said GGSA director Mike Aughney. "It's time to admit this version of the tunnel idea won’t work. There’s no doubt the status quo is very bad for salmon, but this giant twin tunnels proposal obviously isn’t the answer."

Ferry galley workers frustrated by lack of benefits - By Ed Friedrich, Kitsap Sun, March 28, 2017 - Galley workers remain without health care insurance six months after their new company began providing food services on state ferries.

From Steel City to Sun City: Colorado Town Turns to Clean Energy - By Laura A Shepard, EcoWatch, March 22, 2017 - Pueblo, known to locals as the "Pittsburgh of the West," has lost thousands of steel jobs in recent decades. Now Vestas, one of the largest wind turbine manufacturers in the country, operates a plant in Pueblo that employs 600 people. Rooftop solar installations could add even more jobs while taking advantage the region's consistently sunny weather—Colorado enjoys more sunshine than all but a few states.

GRT workers reject tentative deal - By staff, CBC News, March 28, 2017 - Unionized Grand River Transit workers have rejected a deal for a new contract with the Region of Waterloo.

Green energy in a coal state: the struggle to bring solar jobs to West Virginia - By Carol J Clouse, The Guardian, March 19, 2017 - Against the depressing backdrop, the growth of the solar industry nationwide offers hope to people like 31-year-old Conant. The industry employed more than 260,000 people in 2016, a 25% increase over the previous year, according to the annual job census by the Solar Foundation.

Green Jobs in a Sustainable Farming Economy post-Brexit - By Luke Dale-Harris, Sustainable Food Trust, March 23, 2017 - The debate surrounding the future of migrant labour in UK agriculture post-Brexit has tended towards a view that British food production relies on the availability of cheap, seasonal labour, and that this cannot be reliably found within the UK. As a result, proposals to create a seasonal workers scheme to allow migrant workers into Britain on temporary visas has generated much traction since the referendum.

The Hidden Risks of Batteries: Child Labor, Modern Slavery, and Weakened Land and Water Rights - By Stefan Sabo-Walsh, GreenTech Media, March 29, 2017 - If you look at the production of cobalt and lithium used in these batteries, a stark picture emerges of an industry exposed to issues such as child labor, modern slavery and the undermining of land and water rights.

Inside Alabama's Auto Jobs Boom: Cheap Wages, Little Training, Crushed Limbs - By Peter Waldman, Bloomberg, March 23, 2017 - Employees work ungodly hours, six or seven days a week, for months on end. Pay is low, turnover is high, training is scant, and safety is an afterthought, usually after someone is badly hurt. Many of the same woes that typify work conditions at contract manufacturers across Asia now bedevil parts plants in the South.

Iowa Could Support More Than 17,000 Wind-Related Jobs By 2020 - By Joshua S Hill, Clean Technica, March 28, 2017 - Further analysis of the US wind energy sector by Navigant Consulting shows that the state of Iowa could support more than 17,000 wind-related jobs by 2020.

Iron and Earth: Changing the narrative about Canadian energy futures - By Anna Kusmer, Seeds of Good Anthropocenes, March 14, 2017 - The Canadian oil sands are a prime example of the clichéd economy- environment dichotomy, where workers jobs are pitted against the concerns of environmentalists. The assumed trade-off between environmental protection and workers livelihoods stokes a ‘jobs vs. the environment’ rhetoric which dominates the media and political discourse. But some workers are changing the narrative.

It’s Alive! US Energy Department Promotes Solar, Wind, Storage News - By Tina Casey, Clean Technica, March 21, 2017 - Another DOE program serving Trump’s base is a SunShot solar jobs program for military veterans, which could also get the old heave-ho if Republican budget cuts go through.

Maine lobstermen’s union votes to buy Hancock County lobster business - By Penelope Overton, Portland Press Herald, February 25, 2017 - The union has lobbied the Maine Legislature on behalf of its members, and has raised some objections to local projects that would affect their members – such as dredging in Searsport and in Casco Bay.

Minnesota governor urged to veto anti-solar bill - By Danielle Ola, PV Tech, March 20, 2017 - The bill would evidently derail progress to reach that more aggressive RPS – a move that would help drive down the cost of clean energy while creating thousands of new jobs.

New Research Highlights Solar Jobs Expansion in Local Communities Nationwide - By Avery Palmer, Solar Foundation, March 28, 2017 - The Solar Jobs Census 2016 found that employment increased by a historic 25 percent nationwide from 2015 to 2016, for a total of 260,077 solar workers. This growth occurred across all regions of the country — the number of solar jobs increased in 44 of the 50 states from 2015 to 2016. In 21 of the 50 states, solar jobs grew by 50 percent or more.

Oil Majors Take a Plunge into Offshore Wind - By Jessica Shankleman, Bloomberg, March 23, 2017 - Even as oil production declined in the North Sea over the last 15 years, economic activity has been buoyed by offshore windmills. The notorious winds that menaced generations of roughnecks working on oil platforms have become a boon for a new era of workers asked to install and maintain turbines anchored deep into the seabed.

Protesters blockade oil conference in Taranaki - By staff, Maori Television, March 22, 2017 - It’s time to be working together for a just transition for all workers into clean and sustainable future. There are no jobs on a dead planet.”

The rural programs threatened by Trump’s budget - By Elizabeth Shogren, High Country News, March 24, 2017 - President Donald Trump’s proposed budget would slash funding for, or even eliminate, many programs that are important to the rural West.

In Santa Fe, Momentum Builds For Locals To Take Charge Of Electricity System (Episode 39 Of Local Energy Rules Podcast) - By John Farrell, Clean Technica, March 27, 2017 - "A massive strategic overhaul in Sante Fe would leverage local control to shape energy policies that support growth, both in New Mexico’s robust renewables market and in the broader economy by creating jobs and making sure customers’ dollars stay in the community."

Solar industry says 70,000 jobs knocking on Alberta's door - By Daniel Rodriguez, National Observer, March 28, 2016 - New jobs in Alberta would be welcome in the fossil fuel-rich province, pummeled in recent months by the decline in global oil prices. Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau noted in his recent budget that paid employment in the province had fallen by about 65,000 since October 2014 when oil prices started their precipitous decline. Over 95 per cent of those positions were lost in industries directly related to the oil sector, the budget said.

Trump Approves Keystone XL Pipeline, Groups Vow 'The Fight Is Not Over' - By Lorraine Chow, EcoWatch, March 23, 2017 - Instead of pushing bogus claims about the potential of pipelines to create jobs, Trump should focus his efforts on the clean energy sector, the key to America's future growth," Best said. "Trump's energy plan is more of the same—full of giveaways to his fossil fuel cronies at a time when renewable energy is surging ahead. Renewable energy is not only the future, but the only just economy for today. Keystone, the Dakota Access Pipeline, and fossil fuel infrastructure projects like them will only make billionaires richer and make the rest of us suffer."

Trump Restarts Keystone XL Fight, Not the Tar Sands Pipeline - By Anthony Swift and Danielle Droitsch, Common Dreams, March 24, 2017 - President Trump promises Keystone XL is a job producer, claiming that between 28,000 and  42,000 jobs would be created by this pipeline. This is untrue. The pipeline will provide 1,950 construction jobs for two years and then only 35 full-time, permanent staff (and up to 15 temporary contractors).

Trump signs measure making it easier for federal contractors to abuse workers - By Bryce Covert, ThinkProgress, March 28, 2017 - Safety violations are also a widespread problem. Among the 100 largest penalties that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has handed out since 2015, over a third were to companies that contracted with the government in last decade. Twelve were for firms that got a contract of at least $100,000 last year.

25 Cities Now Committed to 100% Renewables - By Lorraine Chow, EcoWatch, March 22, 2017 - "Whether you're Republican or a Democrat, from a liberal college city or a rural Louisiana town, clean energy is putting America back to work and benefiting communities across the country," Jodie Van Horn, director of the Sierra Club's Ready for 100 campaign, said. "That's why Madison, Wisconsin and Abita Springs, Louisiana, today join the ranks of 23 other cities and towns across the United States that are going all-in on clean, renewable energy."

UAWC's statement on the occasion of Land Day - By staff, La Via Campesina, March 29, 2017 - The Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) urges the Palestinian Authority (PA) to take a number of steps to strengthen the steadfastness of the Palestinian people on their land, and support their resistance against the settlement expansion and the Apartheid wall. We also urge the PA to adopt progressive development and socio-economic policies that ensure the rights of small scale farmers.

When even the scientists are marching - By Liz Ross, Red Flag, March 20, 2017 - Science activists Steven and Hilary Rose, in The Political Economy of Science, write that, like any other workers who sell their labor to the capitalist class, science workers become alienated from their creations, from the products of their labor.

Why Does Trump Want to Stop Investigating Chemical Accidents? - By George Zornick, The Nation, March 23, 2017 - "There are things that American industry does that would make accidents like Bhopal look small,” said Michael Wright, director of health, safety, and environment for the United Steelworkers. (A gas leak at a pesticide plant in Bhopal, India, killed several thousand people in the mid-1980s.) “There are some things which in a worst-case scenario could affect a million people."

Why White Working Class Americans Are Dying “Deaths of Despair” - By Stephen Franklin, In These Times, March 25, 2017 - Without pinpointing a specific reason, Deaton and Case suggest that the cycle of “deaths of despair” comes from the collapse of jobs and benefits for these workers who then tumble into heart-breaking problems of physical and emotional health, family difficulties, drugs and just plain survival. It is a portrait of cascading hopelessness, where workers go from stagnating wages to joblessness to dropping out of the job market.

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