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EcoWobbles - EcoUnionist News #152

Compiled by x344543 - IWW Environmental Unionism Caucus, May 5, 2017

A smorgasbord of news of interest to green unionists:

In the Age of Trump, Can Labor Unite? - By Alexandra Bradbury, In These Times, April 26, 2017 - Besides economics, the trainings deal with racism, the prison system and the history of U.S. social movements, with an emphasis on getting out of “silos” to ally with movements besides labor. Some sessions include community participants, and one goal is to feed new activists into local coalitions like Sustainable Staten Island, which includes unions of nurses and university staff, an immigrant rights group, a peace group and an anti-police brutality group.

Because 'Solidarity Is Key,' Labor Leaders Amplify Call for Peoples Climate March - By Andrea Germanos, Common Dreams, April 26, 2017 - Days before the Peoples Climate March, a number of labor leaders are helping to amplify the mobilization, joining the chorus demanding an "economic policy that works for working people and the planet."

Can Coal Make A Comeback? No. No It Can’t - Joshua S Hill, Clean Technica, April 28, 2017 - A new report published by Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy has concluded that no amount of regulatory rollbacks and policy decisions made by Donald Trump’s administration will be able to succeed in bringing back coal jobs.

Climate March Draws Thousands of Protesters Alarmed by Trump’s Environmental Agenda - By Nicholas Fandos, New York Times, April 29, 2017 - The marchers in Washington included Hollywood celebrities and stars of the political left like former Vice President Al Gore and the business magnate Richard Branson. The front of their ranks, though, was reserved for ordinary people: the immigrants, indigenous people, laborers, coastal dwellers and children, who organizers say are most vulnerable to the effects of a changing climate.

Coalition of Immokalee Workers news:

DC ATU 698 Union walkout, board grilling on safety, leave Metro GM Wiedefeld on the defensive - By Faiz Siddiqui and Robert McCartney,  Associated Press, April 27, 2017 - As board members scrutinized Wiedefeld’s progress on safety, scores of union workers stormed out of the agency’s headquarters chanting “Who moves this city? We move this city!” in the latest example of rising tensions between the two sides during contentious labor negotiations; [related]: Metro Workers Turn Backs on WMATA Board, Walk Out of Meeting - By Dan Taylor, Washington DC Patch, April 27, 2017.

Feds launch national dialogue on energy future - By Mark Brooks, The Climate Examiner, April 26, 2017 - The overall aim is to develop a comprehensive long-term, multi-generational energy strategy. At the launch, the minister set out four criteria for this new energy system: addressing climate change, keeping energy affordable, providing jobs, and ensuring the international competitiveness of domestic industry.

Fired track workers sue Metro for discrimination, hostile work environment - By Martine Powers, Washington Post, May 2, 2017 - The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court, alleges that Metro had no evidence that the workers — two track walkers, two supervisors, and one maintenance manager — committed any wrongdoing. Instead, the workers’ lawyers argue, Metro officials sought to blame rank-and-file workers, who are predominantly black, and protect higher-ranking officials within the agency.

Five things you need to know about President Trump’s executive order on national monuments - By Jesse Prentice-Dunn, Westwise, April 26, 2017 - According to a report released this week by the Outdoor Industry Association, outdoor recreation generated $887 billion in consumer spending, supporting 7.6 million direct jobs.

Food Workers Take On Fowl Play at Tyson—And Win Better Conditions - By Bruce Vail, In These Times, April 28, 2017 - A consumer pressure campaign against labor abuses in the chicken-processing industry has produced some initial results, with a detailed pledge this week from Tyson Foods to build a better workplace for its 95,000 employees.

From Peoples Climate March to May Day: Resistance is Here to Stay! - By Thanu Yakupitiyage,, April 30, 2017 - On May 1st, immigrants and allies all over the country will rise up in resistance to demonstrate the power, resilience and strength of immigrants in America. On May 1st in cities, towns and communities across the country immigrant leaders of the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM) will Rise Up! in resistance to demonstrate the power, resilience and strength of immigrant communities in America.

Granddaughter of coal breaker becomes local leader against climate change - By Samantha Page, Think Progress, April 29, 2017 - From 2014 to 2015 alone, coal jobs in Pennsylvania dropped 16 percent — and that latest data comes after decades of steadily decreasing employment in coal mining, due in large part to automation, but increasingly because of economic pressure from natural gas and renewable energy.

How environmental NGOs are shifting conversation on climate and energy - By Monica Trauzzi, E&E News, May 1, 2017 - When it comes to solar energy development that's about jobs. When it comes to wind power development that's about jobs. We understand the president's concerns with job creation, but when it comes to clean energy that's where the new jobs are being created. Again, politicians on both sides of the aisle understand that, as does the public.

Indiana’s governor just signed a law that will cripple the state’s solar industry - By Jeremy Deaton and Laura A. Shepard, Think Progress, May 2, 2017 - In Indiana, solar employs nearly three times as many people as natural gas, according to the Department of Energy. You might think, given the numbers, that legislators would want to protect the state’s nascent solar industry. You would be wrong.

Last ride for the West’s iconic trains? - By Forrest Whitman, High Country News, May 2, 2017 - Elaine Chao, our new secretary of Transportation, is cutting the California high-speed rail initiative. That kills 9,600 good jobs. 

Longview coal terminal is a road to nowhere - By Clark Williams-Derry, Seattle Times, April 26, 2017 - The reality is that the economic prospects for West Coast coal exports have collapsed. China’s demand for coal, which once seemed limitless, has been falling for three consecutive years.

Luddites have been getting a bad rap for 200 years. But, turns out, they were right - Michael J. Coren, Quartz, April 30, 2017 - Clive Thompson, an author and journalist at the New York Times Magazine and Wired, revisited Luddite’s history in an article for The Smithsonian to see what it could teach us. As machine learning and robotics consume manufacturing and white-collar jobs alike, the 200-year-old rebellion’s implications for automation are more relevant than ever, says Thompson... [related]: When Robots Take All of Our Jobs, Remember the Luddites - By Clive Thompson, Smithsonian, January 2017.

May Day Statement - By Irvin Jim, NUMSA, May 1, 2017 - (This statement includes "Just Transition" demands).

Metro workers planning ‘sick-out’ Friday - By Martine Powers, Washington Post, April 26, 2017 -  ATU Local 689 President Jackie L. Jeter accused the agency of putting workers and passengers at risk by rejecting the surge of requests; [related]: WMATA workers aren't planning sick out; president calls Metro absentee policy 'asinine' - By staff, Fox 5 DC, April 26, 2017 - The union representing the majority of Metro’s workers says their members are not staging a “sick out” this Friday for transit agency employees, and that the union stands behind employees who are abiding by the absentee policy laid out by the transit agency.

NAFTA Needs To Be Replaced, Not Renegotiated - By Jim Goodman, Family Farm Defenders, April 27, 2017 - Trade deals like NAFTA thrive on commodity speculation that boosts corporate profits, while bankrupting family farmers, price gouging consumers, and destroying the environment.

NNU Nurses Across America March for Healthy Planet, Healthy Patients - By staff, National Nurses United, May 1, 2017 - A toxic environment leads to illnesses that become a nurse’s job to heal. That’s why 70 National Nurses United (NNU) RNs stood together with 300,000 other marchers to demand environmental justice at the People’s Climate March in Washington, D.C., on Saturday.

In Norway, A Growing Movement Builds an Oil-Free Future - By Truls Gulowsen, Common Dreams, April 30, 2017 - Luckily, a new movement to challenge these ideas is growing. Unions, environmentalists, and religious leaders have formed an alliance to get Norway out of its oil addiction before it is too late.

NUMSA condemns killings of MST activists in Brazil - By Staff, NUMSA, April 30, 2017 - The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA), condemns in the strongest terms the senseless murder of Silvino Nunes Gouveia who was a militant leader of the Movimento dos Trabalhadores Ruais Sem Terra (MST), a movement which represents landless workers in rural areas of Brazil. Nunes was an activist who worked as a regional coordinator for MST in that area. His killers are still at large and are unknown. Nunes was gunned down at his home in the settlement of Liberdade, in the municipality of Periquito on Friday.

100% Clean Energy Bill Launched by Senators and Movement Leaders - By Jamie Henn, Common Dreams, April 27, 2017 - Ahead of the Peoples Climate March, Senator Jeff Merkley, Senator Bernie Sanders, and Senator Ed Markey stood beside movement leaders to introduce legislation that will completely phase out fossil fuel use by 2050. The “100 by ‘50 Act” outlines a bold plan to support workers and to prioritize low-income communities while replacing oil, coal and gas with clean energy sources like wind and solar.

100% Renewable Energy Bill – A first foot forward - By Janet Redman, Oil Change International, April 27, 2017 - It does all of this while putting communities on the frontlines of the dirty energy economy – energy workers, low-income communities, and communities of color that have been starved of community investment for decades – at the center of a renewable energy build-out.

Over 100 Thousand Join “Day Without Immigrants” Strike - By staff, Popular Resistance, May 2, 2017 - “We are the workers who harvest and prepare food, who repair homes, who come into office buildings after 7pm to clean them,” affirmed Francisca Santiago, a farmworker from Homestead, Florida who joined the May 1st Strike. “Yesterday, I did not go to the fields, I did not buy anything, and I marched for the first time in my life.”

The People’s Budget, Not Trump’s Budget, Will Help Working Americans - By Mark Pocan, Common Dreams, May 2, 2017 - Our budget is a roadmap for the resistance, investing in the progressive priorities and kitchen table issues that matter to real people: infrastructure to create jobs and ensure public safety; education to help our kids reach their full potential; and sustainable energy to protect our precious environment.

People's Climate March Draws Massive Crowd in DC - By Stefanie Spear, EcoWatch, April 29, 2017 - The Peoples Climate March was led by a coalition of frontline communities, faith leaders, labor activists, civil rights champions and climate justice advocates demanding commonsense protections for the air we breathe, the water we drink and the health of the vulnerable communities who have the most to lose under President Trump's administration.

People’s Climate Movement Shows Strength and Diversity at DC March - By Julie Dermansky, DeSmog Blog, April 30, 2017 - Nate James, President of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) Local 3331, the largest bargaining unit at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), spoke about the pressure EPA workers are now under and how he will continue to fight for their right to do their jobs.

The planet can't wait - By staff, Socialist Worker, April 28, 2017 - April 29 is the Climate March. Two days later on May 1, hundreds of thousands of will protest on May Day for the rights of workers and immigrants. The demands of these two struggles and movements are intimately connected, and the prospects for success in each are enormously improved if we can build solidarity and unity around a struggle for system change with the power to shut down capitalism.

Power generators commit to worker transfer scheme - By Victoria State Government, REnew Economy, May 1, 2017 - In a major win for the Latrobe Valley community, the Andrews Labor Government has reached agreement with all three power generators to participate in the landmark worker transfer scheme to help displaced Hazelwood workers.

Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility - Protecting Employees Who Protect Our Environment

'Quiet No More': Hundreds of Thousands Ready to Strike on May Day - By Deirdre Fulton, Common Dreams, April 30, 2017 - Furthermore, progressive advocacy groups are framing May Day as a chance to highlight the intersectional nature of key movements, including those pursuing labor rights, climate action, and racial justice. Already, dozens of climate groups have pledged their support for striking workers.

Resisting Land Grabbing in Germany - By Paula Gioia, La Via Campesina, May 2, 2017 - Land grabbing is no longer a phenomenon of the Global South only. In rural Germany, a highly undemocratic form of land control is accelerating the process of land concentration, contributing to the increase of land prices and creating barriers for young farmers to enter agriculture.

Solidarity in the streets for May Day - By Alan Maass, Socialist Worker, May 2, 2017 - Balcazar told the crowd: "We're living in a time that's harder than ever before to speak out for what's right and demand our dignity and our rights--and that's why Ben & Jerry's has to join the Milk with Dignity campaign, because they know what's happening to us when we show our faces."

Staten Island Climate March Links Economic And Environmental Issues - By Thomas Altfather Good, Union Writer, May 2, 2017 - Workers from several local unions – including CWA Local 1102 and IBEW Local 3 – peace and environmental activists, and members of immigrant rights organizations gathered on Staten Island’s Franklin Delano Roosevelt boardwalk on Saturday.

Trump's First 100 Days: Workers Get Pummeled, People Fight Back - By Sasha Abramsky, Equal Voice, April 25, 2017 - Trump ran for election on a hard nationalist, economically populist platform, wooing voters in depressed regions of the country, and in declining industries such as coal, by stressing economic protectionism, job creation, and massive infrastructure spending, and by promising to create a "beautiful" health care system for all Americans.

Trump’s Ploy to Rig the Grid - By Steve Hargreaves and Courtney St. John, Nexus Media, April 20, 2017 - Renewable energy is a jobs machine. The solar industry employs five times as many people as coal mining. Jobs in wind are growing by leaps and bounds.

U.S. Congress secures health benefits for coal miners - By Valerie Volcovici, Reuters, May 1, 2017 - The U.S. government and coal companies will be required to pay out healthcare to retired coal miners, guaranteeing benefits to workers even as coal companies face bankruptcy, after Congress on Sunday reached a fiscal spending agreement for 2017.

US Workers Unite Against Trump as Global May Day Actions Flourish - By Nadia Prupis, Common Dreams, May 1, 2017 - Monday's protests come just after the Peoples Climate March, which saw hundreds of thousands of people take to the streets around the world to demand action on climate change and an end to fossil fuel use. The environmental movement declared its support of the May Day actions last week, just after labor unions expressed their backing of the climate marches. Organizers stressed that solidarity was "key" among the movements.

We resist. We build. We rise - By staff, People's Climate Movement, May 1, 2017 - On April 29th, students, workers, faith communities, Indigenous Nations, community organizations, and environmental groups joined together to make it clear that this resistance will defend our communities, now and forever.

When Corporations Don’t Take Precautions To Avert Workplace Deaths, the Answer Must Be Prison - By Leo Gerard, In These Times, April 26, 2017 - These are horrible deaths. Workers are crushed by massive machinery. They drown in vats of chemicals. They’re poisoned by toxic gas, burned by molten metal. The company pays a meaningless fine. Nothing changes. And another worker is killed 11 days later.

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

World Day for Safety and Health at Work: the ETUC denounces inequalities in terms of health and safety at work - By staff, European Trade Union Institute, May 2, 2017 - The trade union organisation pointed out the situation in the building industry: ‘About one third of building workers are exposed to very dangerous substances like carcinogens, mutagens and reprotoxins. Among all occupations, the building workers have the highest probability of premature death’.

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