You are here

EcoWobbles - EcoUnionist News #154

Compiled by x344543 - IWW Environmental Unionism Caucus, May 19, 2017

A smorgasbord of news of interest to green unionists:

Book Review: How Electrical Workers Powered Up Their Union - By Eve Ottenberg, Labor Notes, May 12, 2017 - The enemy is strong. But Union Power shows what ordinary people can do to try to better their circumstances, and how we should regard the anti- union ideology that saturates our culture.

Center for Biological Diversity Strikes Back After Pruitt and Zinke Fire Science Boards - By Dan Zukowski, EnviroNews, May 10, 2017 - Some of the dismissed BSC members, and the union representing EPA employees, fear that industry-selected replacements will hamper independent science at the agency.

The coal executive jailed for a deadly mining disaster still says he’s innocent - By Emma Foehringer Merchant, Grist, May 12, 2017 - Over a year ago, Don Blankenship — former CEO of Massey Energy — was convicted of a misdemeanor after a 2010 explosion at the company’s West Virginia Upper Big Branch mine killed 29 miners.

This Coal Plant Just Became the 253rd Since 2010 to Announce Retirement - By Sierra Club, EcoWatch, May 17, 2017 - "Expanded, homegrown, low-cost solar also would bring good-paying jobs that people like those who have worked faithfully at St. John's Power Park could count on to keep taking care of their families," Larson said. 

Coalition of Immokalee Workers news:

Coastal Liberals Look Out: The Working Class Is the New Face of Activism - By Michael Bible, Vice, May 3 2017 - But coal mining is more about the culture and less and less about the jobs." He said Appalachia has a case of Stockholm syndrome with the coal industry.

The Coming Crisis for the World’s Farmers - By Jill Richardson, CounterPunch, May 12, 2017 - The points he made were common sense: The majority of the world’s poor in the Global South are farmers, and the changing climate is already making it harder for them to produce the food they need. If nothing changes, the refugees already pouring into Europe will just be the warm-up act for the flood that will come later.

Construction Companies’ Owner Is Charged in Laborer’s Death - By Alan Feuer, New York Times, May 10, 2017 - The owner of two Brooklyn construction companies was charged with manslaughter on Wednesday because the authorities said he ignored complaints about a poorly maintained retaining wall that collapsed at a work site in 2015, killing an 18-year-old laborer and injuring two others.

Dirty deal lets Anglo bosses off the hook for death of miner - By staff, CFMEU, May 14, 2017 - The Queensland Government today accepted a dirty deal that allows three mining bosses to walk free after their involvement in the fatality of coal mineworker Mr Ian Downes.

Electric Car Workers Accuse Tesla of Low Pay and Intimidation - By  By David Dayen, Capital and Main, April 7, 2017 - (T)hough its products epitomize the future, workers like Richard Ortiz say Tesla’s labor conditions are mired in the past.

Eskom says plan to mothball power plants only a 'scenario' - By staff, Reuters, May 5, 2017 - South Africa's National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and other unions have threatened strike action over the proposals, which would threaten thousands of jobs in the coal-producing eastern province of Mpumalanga.

Final action-packed weekend of Global Divestment Mobilisation - By staff, Fossil Free, May 13, 2017 - In England, Town Halls will be pressured to divest Local Government Pension Funds, with events including a giant map linking climate impacts to families in Birmingham, a ‘Renewables Ark’ in Bradford highlighting local flood risk and a series of 14 rolling rallies across London’s Town Halls to take on a fossil fuel monster.

As Food and Farmworkers Retreat, Guestworker Program Poised to Grow - By Christina Cooke, CivilEats, April 11, 2017 - The American food system relies heavily on the work of people born outside U.S. borders, many of whom are undocumented—and living on edge. In fact, 73 percent of the 2.5 million farmworkers planting, cultivating, and harvesting our crops each season are foreign-born, mostly in Mexico. And between 30 percent and 70 percent are undocumented, according to various sources.

FS rescuers expected to retrieve more bodies from mine - By Mia Lindeque, EWN, May 16, 2017 - Free State police say rescue workers are expected to retrieve more bodies from a Welkom mine in the wake of an explosion there last week; [related]: 24 bodies pulled from Free State mine - By African News Agency, The Citizen, May 17, 2017.

Global Nurses United Organizes Global Week of Action in Honor of International Nurses’ Week - By staff, National Nurses United, May 12, 2017 - They marched for “decent work, a $15 minimum wage and the right to join a union, but it also means challenging racism, Islamophobia and xenophobia, while championing equity, social justice, and a green economy.”

Göttingen withdraws funds from coal, oil and gas companies - By staff, Fossil Free, May 13, 2017 - Göttingen has decided to divest from all investments in the fossil fuel sector because of the industries continued pursuit of climate-wrecking business activities. A meeting of the city council’s finance committee today approved a motion that had been submitted last week.

Health and safety protections for workers are at risk from government’s Brexit plans, says TUC - By staff, TUC, May 17, 2017 - The TUC has published a new briefing, Protecting Health and Safety after Brexit, which warns trade unionists and working people that health and safety protections are at risk from the government’s Brexit plans.

Highly radioactive liquid from Canada raises concerns about worker safety at Savannah River Site - By Gordon Edwards, et. al., Beyond Nuclear, May 15, 2017 - Transfer containers used to unload highly radioactive liquid waste from Canada may not provide adequate radiological shielding for workers at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina where the first shipment was recently unloaded.

A Hillbilly’s Response to JD Vance - By Jack Justice, CounterPunch, May 11, 2017 - The government and corporations each did their part to weaken organized labor, which once boosted wages and strengthened the social fabric in places like Middletown. More recently, the government has accelerated the decline of the coal industry, on environmentally defensible grounds but with awfully little in the way of remedies for those affected.

How West Virginia Lost the Workers' Revolution - By Hamilton Nolan, Fusion, May 5, 2017 - This is the state where the battle between labor and capital reached its most violent peak. West Virginia’s “Mine Wars” of the early 20th Century culminated in the 1921 Battle of Blair Mountain, which still stands as the largest labor battle in American history—the largest domestic armed engagement since the Civil War. Nowhere else were Americans more willing to kill, or die, for the right to unionize.

Major farmers' unions in India protest regulatory approval for GM Mustard - By staff, La Via Campesina, May 14, 2017 - In a strongly worded letter to the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, The Indian Coordination Committe of Farmers' Movements (ICCFM) - one of India's largest network of farmers' unions, has rejected the regulatory approval given for GM Mustard in the country; [related]: India’s largest farmer unions ask environment minister to reject GM mustard commercialisation - By staff, GM Watch, May 13, 2017

Minnesota governor vetoes state legislature’s attempt to gut renewables - By Samantha Page, ThinkProgress, May 16, 2017 - His office says that the state’s clean energy jobs, primarily in wind and solar, increased 78 percent between 2000 and 2014, compared to 11 percent nationally. According to state analysis, clean energy provides a $1 billion annually in wages; [related]: Minnesota Gov. Dayton vetoes energy omnibus bill opposed by green groups - Robert Walton, Utility Dive, May 17, 2017.

MST Militant on Taking Back Land from Plantations in Brazil - By staff, Global Justice Ecology Project, May 12, 2017 - This video is an interview with an MST militant, Eliane Oliveira, that we conducted in March during a delegation of the Campaign to STOP Genetically Engineered Trees in Chile.

Napa’s Worker Squeeze Tightens - By W. Blake Gray, Wine Searcher, May 13, 2017 - Vineyard workers are not the only Napa Valley employees in short supply: it’s difficult to find enough workers locally to staff offices, laboratories, tasting rooms, you name it. But getting people to tend grapevines has become such a struggle that recruiting sounds like a spy mission.

Offshore Wind Lands in America - By Phil McKenna, Nova, May 1, 2017 - Meanwhile, first-mover Rhode Island is in a position to capture a significant share of the approximately 11,000 jobs and $50 billion in investment projected for a potential 20-year regional build-out.

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

One Million Voices: Taking a Stand Against Fossil Fuels - By staff, Columbia River Keeper, May 9, 2017 - Tribal, environmental justice, fishing, labor, public health, first responder, faith, clean energy and conservation leaders will hold a rally on the capitol steps to show the widespread and diverse opposition to the impacts of fossil fuel trains, tankers, pipelines and terminals and call on the Governor to reject permits for proposed coal and oil projects.

Sierra Club Slams Dominion as Obstacle to Clean Energy Jobs in Virginia - By Sierra Club, Common Dreams, May 12, 2017 - "Dominion's monopoly position and its self-dealing reliance on fracked gas is costing Virginia jobs and exacerbating sea-level rise," Eileen Levandoski, assistant director of the Sierra Club Virginia Chapter, said.

SpaceX Must Pay $4 Million for Thousands of Underpaid Employees - By Neel V. Patel, Inverse Innovation, May 11, 2017 - To the tune of nearly $4 million dollars, SpaceX is shelling out money to 4,100 SpaceX employees who say the company refused to allow them to take legally mandated breaks during the workday, as a consequence of how the company structured its shift patterns. Each worker will get about $500 — with the highest payouts coming out to about $2,000 per person.

Study Shows Why Trump’s Plan to Bring Back Coal Jobs Won’t Work - By Jason Deign, GreenTech Media, May 15, 2017 - A new study confirms what nearly every energy analyst (and even coal executives) have already said: President Donald Trump’s plan to bring back mining jobs won’t work; [related]: Trump’s rollback of environmental rules will fail to bring back coal, report says - By Mark Hand, ThinkProgress, May 15, 2017

Subway workers should be allowed to wear masks amid air quality concerns - By Chris Fox, CP24 Toronto, May 16, 2017 - For far too long, the TTC has ignored its workforce’s longstanding concerns about subway air pollution.

Thanks to Twitter diplomacy, Trump reminds us that dairy supply management works - By Lois Ross, Rabble.Ca, May 16, 2017 - To help Trump understand how implementing supply management could benefit American dairy producers, the National Farmers Union (NFU) President Jan Slomp tried a bit of Twitter diplomacy -- tweeting the president a link to a little bit of educational reading material.

Trump administration rejects ban on harmful insecticide, dozens of farmworkers get sick - By Esther Yu Hsi Lee, ThinkProgress, May 15, 2017 - More than 50 farmworkers in California became sick from pesticide drift, Kern Golden Empire reported, one month after a controversial pesticide was deemed safe to use by the Trump administration; [related]: Days After Calif. Farmworkers Sickened by Pesticide Drift, EPA Delays Safety Rule - By Alex Formuzis, Environmental Working Group, May 16, 2017 | Trump saved a pesticide Obama wanted banned. Then, it poisoned several farmworkers - By Nikhil Swaminathan, Grist, May 15, 2017 | Trump's EPA Greenlights a Nasty Chemical. A Month Later, It Poisons a Bunch of Farmworkers - By Tom Philpott, Mother Jones, May 15, 2017 | 12 Farmworkers Poisoned by Toxic Pesticide Only One Month After EPA Denies Ban - By Lorraine Chow, EcoWatch, May 15, 2017

Trump administration withdraws Jones Act review - By James Osborne, FuelFix, May 10, 2017 - Announced in the final days of the Obama administration, the proposal would have done away with decades of exemptions by U.S. Customs and Border Protection that allowed international maritime crews to perform works historically reserved for Americans under a U.S. law titled the Jones Act.

Trump’s New Era of Industry Self-Regulation Begins for Oil by Rail - By Justin Mikulka, DeSmog Blog, May 11, 2017 -  While it is clear that the Trump administration likely will weaken regulations and essentially let industry call the shots, it also is worth noting that the Obama administration wasn’t doing a great job in this area either. In 2014 PHMSA reduced its workforce by 9 percent, with a round of job cuts.

Union critical of ‘paltry’ fine for firm at centre of health and safety breach - By Leeza Clark, The Courier, May 13, 2017 - Scotland’s biggest construction union has hit out at the “paltry” fine handed out to a company whose worker was buried alive.

As Utility Solar Grows in Virginia, So Do Tensions with Rooftop Installers - By Jim Pierobon, Renewable Energy World, May 17, 2017 - Sutch and other advocates say the job-creating benefit of installing small solar systems (compared to utility-scale projects) has not been embraced by the Rubin group, Dominion and Virginia’s General Assembly.

We will have another Westray - By Chris Parsons, The Coast, May 11, 2017 - 25 years ago the Westray mine exploded in Plymouth, Nova Scotia killing all 26 miners who were down below. It will happen again.

Why You've Got to Check Out the Runaway Hit Podcast 'S-Town' - By The Climate Reality Project, EcoWatch, May 13, 2017 - Plus, all of this demand is creating jobs that mean more and more Americans are saying yes to clean energy. Today, more than 100,000 Americans now work in wind and solar is creating jobs nearly 17 times faster than the economy overall. An economy powered by renewables is there if we want it and if we keep showing up, signing up and speaking up.

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

Workers Fear Radiation Exposure After Nuclear Waste Storage Tunnels Collapse in Washington - Tom Carpenter interviewed by Amy Goodman, Democracy Now!, May 11, 2017 - The collapse, which was discovered Tuesday, forced hundreds of workers to take cover, to shelter in place, to avoid potential exposure; [related] - Tunnel Collapse at Hanford Nuclear Dump—Harbinger of the Collapse of the Entire Industry? - By Harvey Wasserman, Common Dreams, May 11, 2017.

Workers vacate Legal Affairs building due to unsafe working conditions - By staff, Power 102 FM, May 12, 2017 - Occupational health and safety issues have been cited as the basis for the Public Service Association’s decision to instruct workers to vacate the Ministry of Legal Affairs building in Port of Spain.

Workplace Manslaughter Charge Going To Trial Says Quebec Superior Court - By Norm Keith and Shane Todd, White Collar Post, April 12, 2017 - The Quebec Superior Court recently released a decision with broad implications for corporate employers, owners, managers and supervisors across Canada.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

The Fine Print I:

Disclaimer: The views expressed on this site are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) unless otherwise indicated and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s, nor should it be assumed that any of these authors automatically support the IWW or endorse any of its positions.

Further: the inclusion of a link on our site (other than the link to the main IWW site) does not imply endorsement by or an alliance with the IWW. These sites have been chosen by our members due to their perceived relevance to the IWW EUC and are included here for informational purposes only. If you have any suggestions or comments on any of the links included (or not included) above, please contact us.

The Fine Print II:

Fair Use Notice: The material on this site is provided for educational and informational purposes. It may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. It is being made available in an effort to advance the understanding of scientific, environmental, economic, social justice and human rights issues etc.

It is believed that this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have an interest in using the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. The information on this site does not constitute legal or technical advice.