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EcoWobbles - EcoUnionist News #148

Compiled by x344543 - IWW Environmental Unionism Caucus, April 7, 2017

A smorgasbord of news of interest to green unionists:

Afraid of losing their jobs, workers take over the business - By Anna-Catherine Brigida, Public Radio International, March 23, 2017 - Los Chanchitos is one of more than 300 Argentine businesses that have been occupied and converted into co-ops since the mid-1990s, when a crashing economy bankrupted thousands of companies. But now Argentina's co-op members are worried what might happen to their movement with a conservative government in power, rolling back some of the leftist policies that benefited them.

Agroecology, not Pesticides, is the Future for Food - By Eva Perroni, Foodtank, April 3, 2017 - The burden of these negative effects falls largely on farmers and agricultural workers, but also communities living near agricultural land, particularly those from impoverished areas. Children, especially those engaged in agricultural work, are most vulnerable to pesticide contamination, as exposure to even low levels of pesticides can dangerously harm their health and natural development.

Building an Army to Fight Runaway Inequality - By Dan DiMaggio, Labor Notes, April 4, 2017 - On a recent trip to the Bay Area, he led a training with the Sierra Club, the Steelworkers, and CWA, which even took up the thorny question of alliance-building between environmentalists and labor.

As China's Coal Mines Close, Miners Are Becoming Bolder In Voicing Demands - By Rob Schmitz, NPR, March 14, 2017 - "This is a dangerous job," he says. "Accidents have killed dozens of workers here. We've risked our lives for this mine and we earn just enough to afford cabbage. Now we won't be able to take care of our parents or children."

Coalition of Immokalee Workers news:

Cities and states tackle clean energy, climate after Trump halts environmental action - By Robert Walton, Utility Dive, March 30, 2017 - The order may keep some plants online longer, but market forces are increasingly pushing marginal coal facilities to the brink. Adding to that, the coal industry is increasingly automated, so it's unclear how much a bump in production would impact employment.

Dairy workers call on Ben and Jerry’s to give them better hours and fair wages - By Esther Yu Hsi Lee, Think Progress, April 4, 2017 - In the state of Vermont and across the country, dairy workers and supporters of migrant farmworkers rallied outside the ice cream company’s storefronts on Tuesday to call attention to what they say are human rights abuses in the dairy supply chain.

Earth Day: Nearly 400 ‘March for Science’ Protests Scheduled Against Trump’s Climate Policies - By staff, Telesur, April 1, 2017 - The march signals a major political shift for scientists, who are often encouraged by their employers to refrain from publicly commenting on or participating in politics. But as Trump continues to implement policies that hurt the environment, political atheists are quickly becoming political activists.

Energy Department climate office bans use of phrase ‘climate change’ - By Eric Wolff, Politico, march 29, 2017 - Employees of DOE’s Office of International Climate and Clean Energy learned of the ban at a meeting Tuesday, the same day President Donald Trump signed an executive order at EPA headquarters to reverse most of former President Barack Obama's climate regulatory initiatives.

Energy Department Tells Staff to Stop Using Phrase 'Climate Change' - By Lorraine Chow, EcoWatch, March 30, 2017 - While a department spokeswoman denied any official language ban in the climate office or in the department as a whole, POLITICO's sources said that there is a general sense among DOE employees that such hot-button terms should be avoided in favor of words like "jobs" and "infrastructure" in light of the Trump administration's anti-environmental agenda.

The entire coal industry employs fewer people than Arby’s - By Christopher Ingraham, Washington Post, March 31, 2017 - Experts in the industry have already pointed out, repeatedly, that the coal jobs are extremely unlikely to come back. The plight of the coal industry is more a function of changing energy markets and increased demand for natural gas than anything else.

EPA Proposal Cuts Hundreds of Climate Change Employees - By Emily Holden, Scientific American, April 4, 2017 - A memo detailing how U.S. EPA would cut its budget by one-third shows that the agency would eliminate hundreds of employees working on climate change, including 20 lawyers who provide support for the Clean Power Plan.

ELPC’s Learner Warns Trump’s Proposed Budget Cuts to Transportation Bad for Midwest Economy - By Howard Learner, Chicago Tribune, March 29, 2017 - Howard Learner, executive director of the Environmental Law & Policy Center, said the proposed cuts are ironic, given Trump’s talk about investing in transportation infrastructure and jobs.

Even Under Trump, a U.S. Coal Giant Plots Cautious Comeback Plan - By Tim Loh, Bloomberg, April 4, 2017 - "As utilities continue retiring coal plants and renewable energy production soars, Peabody is betting on a coal revival that simply isn’t going to happen," Mary Anne Hitt, director of Sierra Club’s "Beyond Coal Campaign," said in a statement. "Peabody is once again putting workers, communities, and even its shareholders at risk."

Forget the war on coal. The war is on miners - By Emily Sanders, Grist, March 31, 2017 - According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, workers in the mining, quarrying, and gas and oil extraction industries are nearly four times as likely to die on the job as the average U.S. worker. “Any time you work in the coal industry, your safety is at risk,” said Price. “There’s enough danger in the mines as it is. If you take away just one protection, it could be fatal.”

43,000 Audi Workers Ask Management To Build More Electric Cars - By Steve Hanley, Clean Technica, March 31, 2017 - Seldom in the annals of history have workers sought to have such a direct involvement in a company’s internal policy decisions. “Our core factory must be prepared further for the future,” Audi’s top labor representative, Peter Mosch, told a gathering of 7,000 workers on Wednesday.

$400 million reasons why New York State pensions are responsible for the Dakota Access Pipeline - By Richard Brooks, Fossil Free, April 3, 2017 - By continuing to own fossil fuel companies to the tune of over $12 billion, the state pension funds, remain complicit in the human rights and environmental crimes and transgressions these companies cause.

A full-scale mobilization against Trump’s fossil fuel agenda - By Jamie Henn,, March 29, 2017 - Trump’s actions are a disaster for all of us – but they hurt low-income communities, communities of color, and workers the most. Trump and his administration’s climate denial is racist, classist, and flat out dangerous.

‘The Greatest Jobs Producer God Ever Created’ - By Peter Rugh, The Indypendent, March 29, 2017 - “There have been lots of studies that show there is no tradeoff between generating jobs and fighting climate change,” said UMass’s Gerald Epstein. “The best way to generate jobs is by investing in renewable energy. It could generate millions of jobs. If we don’t do that, we’re threatening livelihoods.

Hazelwood’s closure: 6 things we learned this week - By Mark Wakeham, REnew Economy, March 31, 2017 - With Hazelwood’s closure we now have an example of what a ‘Just Transitions’ package looks like.

Hmm - By Eve Andrews, Grist, March 29, 2017 - Tens of thousands of teachers are getting climate-denying propaganda in their mailboxes.

Indonesian farmers and fishermen deliver a clear message to Japan: Stop funding dirty coal - By staff, Fossil Free, March 27, 2017 - This would be built adjacent to the existing coal-fired power plant in Cirebon, also funded by Japan, which has resulted in negative impacts on local farmers, fisherman and unresolved land issues.

Inspired by Nature: Scientists Find Groundbreaking Solution for Solar Storage - By Cassie Kelly, EcoWatch, April 2, 2017 - The rapid growth of clean energy jobs—coupled with the economic decline of the coal industry, even despite subsidies that continued under the Obama administration—means that Trump is fighting both basic science and economics on this one. Renewable energy is already delivering more jobs than a fossil fuel economy while protecting our health and climate for future generations.

Louisiana’s Bayou Bridge Pipeline Is One Permit Closer To Reality As Groups Plan Continued Resistance - By Julie Dermansky, DeSmog Blog, April 3, 2017 - And all three companies involved in the Bayou Bridge pipeline have experienced recent accidents. The most recent, a Phillips 66 pipeline that caught on fire in Paradis, Louisiana, killed one worker and injured two more.

Marcha Campesina: remembering César Chávez and the struggle for justice and dignity - By staff, La Via Campesina, April 3, 2017 - On Friday, March 31, 2017, a 'Marcha Campesina' (March of the Peasants) was organised to remember César Chávez and to remind the society that the struggle for justice and dignity for women and men, working in the fields and in the canneries, continues.

MTA bus depot staffers move to ditch current union, create new one - By Ginger Adams Otis, New York Daily News, April 1, 2017 - The bus workers seek to form their own independent union and represent themselves, the paperwork said.

Nevada lawmakers consider bill to restore retail net metering - By Robert Walton, Utility Dive, March 29, 2017 - The law would help grow clean energy jobs and boost renewable energy, he said, adding he intends to meet with all stakeholders involved.

Nevada regulators extend retail net metering opt-in deadline - By Robert Walton, Utility Dive, March 31, 2017 - After significant controversy and job losses in the state, the commission voted to grandfather in rates for existing systems and those with active applications.

Ohio House Committee advances bill to eliminate renewables standard - By Robert Walton, Utility Dive, March 31, 2017 - While Republicans say pausing the standards gives the state a chance to adjust to any changes in energy policy or the Clean Power Plan, others argue the hold on advancing conservation will likely send clean energy jobs across the state's borders.

Our food is not your agri-business! March 25 mobilisation in Rome - By staff, La Via Campesina, March 31, 2017 - ECVC and its allies demand healthy and quality food, decent work, and a just and a sustainable agricultural policy in a Europe for the people and of solidarity.

Peasants’ houses in Mekar Jaya - the "hometown of agrarian reform" in Indonesia - razed down by a plantation firm - By Zainal Arifin Faud, La Via Campesina, March 31, 2017 - The affected peasant families, who are members of the Indonesian Peasants’ Union (SPI), have so far been putting up a brave fight. But with nowhere to stay and their houses gone, the distress and despair is strikingly evident.

The President’s Climate Change Executive Order: Wrong Pretense -  By Scott Sklar, Renewable Energy World, March 30, 2017 - The President announced on Tuesday, March 28th at the Environmental Protection Agency his new Executive Order based on protecting 75,000 US coal jobs by threatening over 3 million US clean energy jobs.

Promises to Coal Country Aside, Trump’s Budget Cuts Will End an Economic Lifeline - James Trimarco, Yes! Magazine, April 3, 2017 - Peter Hille has been building projects in eastern Kentucky with funding from the Appalachian Regional Commission for 27 years. He’s currently the executive director of the Mountain Association for Community Economic Development, which is using an ARC grant to help laid-off coal workers transition to jobs in energy efficiency.

Public Records Sought to Expose Trump's Climate-change Censorship - By Staff, Center for Biological Diversity, March 30, 2017 - “This is like telling government scientists not to mention gravity or the fact that the Earth revolves around the sun,” said the Center’s Taylor McKinnon. “The Trump administration can deny the reality of the climate crisis, but it can’t make it go away by simply telling government employees not to mention it anymore. This kind of anti-science meddling leads us straight back to the dark ages.”

Push Back On Trump’s Transit Disaster - By Cynthia, BikoCity, April 5, 2017 - Mass transit is a key to jobs, food, education, and progress. Transit advocates call for your voice, your action to help legislators know that this mode of transport shouldn’t be under attack.

6 Charts That Show Trump Isn’t Stopping the Renewable Energy Revolution Any Time Soon - By Emma Gilchrist, DeSmog Blog, March 30, 2017 - The solar industry was responsible for creating one out of every 50 new jobs in the U.S. last year and the country’s fastest-growing occupation is wind turbine technician — so no matter one’s feelings on climate change, the renewable energy train has left the station, according to a new report.

So you want to revive rural America. Try wind turbines, not coal mines - By Maddie Oatman, Grist, April 4, 2017 - Iowa isn’t the only state benefiting from the breeze. Wind farms — and the new jobs that come with them — have swept across the Midwest, where coal and traditional manufacturing gigs have vanished.

Solar now employs more people in the US than coal and natural gas - By Andrew Topf, Mining.Com, April 2, 2017 - In its most recent annual report, Solar Jobs Census 2016, the foundation found that one out of every 50 jobs in the U.S. last year, was created by the solar industry – or 2% of all new jobs. Solar jobs have increased at least 20% over the past four years and have nearly tripled since the first Solar Jobs Census was released in 2010.

Solar power jobs on the rise in Texas - By Ryan Handy, FuelFix, March 30, 2017 - Solar industry jobs in Texas grew by 34 percent last year, giving the state the third largest number of solar jobs in the nation, according to a study released Wednesday by the Solar Foundation, an industry research group.

Statement on Trump’s plan for NAFTA renegotiation - By Bill Waren and Patrick Davis, Friends of the Earth, March 30, 2017 - Despite his campaign rhetoric, Donald Trump’s leaked draft plan for NAFTA renegotiation betrays workers and the planet. Trump deceived voters who supported him based on his promise to fix NAFTA or to withdraw from the agreement altogether in order to bring industrial jobs back to the United States.

The Sungevity Saga: Is This Any Way to Run a Bankruptcy? - By Eric Wesoff, GreenTech Media, April 3, 2017 - "Without any notice, they let most of their employees go, including some really talented people who have been loyal to the company for years."

Tomato pickers win higher pay. Can other workers use their strategy? - By Richard Mertens, Christian Science Monitor, March 9, 2017 - Tactics like this protest outside Wendy’s, repeated in cities across the country, have helped make the Coalition of Immokalee Workers one of the most successful worker organizations in the country.

As Trump Bows Out, States Set to Fill Void on Climate Change - By Ari Natter, Renewable Energy World, March 30, 2017 - In many Republican-led states — ranging from Texas to Illinois — solar, wind and energy efficiency have thrived as a way to cut electricity costs and boost jobs, not as a way to protect the planet.

Trump Repeals Regulation Protecting Workers From Wage Theft - By Dave Jamieson, Huffington Post, March 27, 2017 - Companies that commit wage theft and put their workers in harm’s way just received a favor from the Trump administration.

Trump Trauma - By Helena Norberg-Hodge, Resilience, March 30, 2017 - Trade unions, environmentalists and human rights activists formed a powerful anti-trade treaty movement – long before Trump came on the scene. And his policies already show that he is about strengthening corporate rule, rather than reversing it.

Trump’s energy and climate change order: Seven essential reads - By Jennifer Weeks, The Conversation, March 28, 2017 - Many advocates assert that by pursuing a low-carbon path, California will attract lucrative industries and high-skill, high-wage jobs.

Trump’s ‘Energy Independence’ Agenda and What’s Next for the Climate Movement - By Julia Pyper, GreenTech Media, March 30, 2017 - “So I think the Trump administration is being disingenuous on that, just like they have on many other things, including the fact that he promised coal workers he would bring their jobs back,” said Hurlbut, speaking in GTM’s latest Facebook video interview. “That’s like saying we’re going to save the VCR industry. We have moved on. We have better technology out there.”

Trump’s Interior Secretary says ‘clean energy’ is a hoax - By Kiley Kroh, Think Progress, March 29, 2017 - Trump, Zinke, and other administration officials have sought to characterize their recent assault on environmental protections as one grounded in economics — ending burdensome regulations and creating jobs. But as experts have repeatedly emphasized, the economics of coal are increasingly dim and, despite what Trump may claim, he cannot bring the industry back.

Trump's repeal of Clean Power Plan gets mixed Montana reception - By Tom Lutey, Billings Gazette, March 29, 2017 - The repeal won’t help the state as it loses coal-related jobs and fails to address carbon dioxide pollution.

Two US coal miners, two very different perspectives on the future of coal - By Carolyn Beeler, Public Radio International,  March 30, 2017 - “Whenever Trump says that he’s going to bring coal jobs back, all that’s doing is giving people false hope and keeping people from working towards better alternatives to coal,” Mullins said.

Unions are for challenging the privileged - By Pranav Jani, Socialist Worker, April 5, 2017 - Of course, unions today are far less radical than in their heyday. Most are dominated by a less-than-accountable leadership, and they are loyal to a Democratic Party that has betrayed them many times. Sometimes, unions take positions that are against the left and social movements--like when the AFL-CIO supported the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Vallejo Planning Commission Rejects Proposed Cement Plant - By Joe Feller, Solano Group Chair, and Victoria Brandon, Redwood Chapter Chair, Wine Water Watch, March 31, 2017 - On March 6 the Vallejo Planning Commission voted 6 – 1 to reject the deep-water port and cement factory known as the Orcem/VMT project. Orcem, an Irish company behind the cement plant proposal, has a history of being anti-union and not attuned to environmental protection standards.

We Need To Restore the Frayed Alliance Between Unions and Progressives - By Cynthia Phinney, Peter Kellman and Julius Getman, In These Times, March 30, 2017 - The battle for Maine’s political future continues. Maine has its own “Rust Belt” although in Maine it is a "Paper Mill Belt." The paper mill towns were union towns that generally voted for Democratic candidates, at least until the mills closed. Starting in 2014, they moved to the Republican column and voted for the sitting governor, Maine’s version of Trump, Paul LePage.

When the promise of a soft landing turns into a real crash - By Andres Arce Indacochea, La Via Campesina, April 3, 2017 - Abandoning their farms is the only way out for thousands of producers. In Spain, within two years, 1,696 of the 17,000 farms that existed before the abolition of quotas have disappeared.

Why Is Trump Flailing? Because Americans Hate His Agenda, and It’s Based on Lies - By Greg Sargent, Washington Post, April 3, 2017 - Trump has signed executive orders rolling back our policies to fight climate change, but doing that will take years and is very unpopular, perhaps in part because it won’t actually restore coal jobs, as he has promised.

Work and Climate Change Report - The green transition of work and workplaces: Research and News from a Canadian viewpoint

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