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EcoWobbles - EcoUnionist News #159

Compiled by x344543 - IWW Environmental Unionism Caucus, June 23, 2017

A smorgasbord of news of interest to green unionists:

B.C. contractor exposed to asbestos blows whistle, says government made his life a 'nightmare' - By Tom Sandborn, Vancouver Sun, June 16, 2017 - When general contractor Don Garrett was invited to bid on plumbing work in Agassiz’s Kent Prison in 2008, he had no idea that such routine work would expose him to asbestos and touch off a nine-year battle that would cast him on the national stage as a whistleblower, make it impossible to obtain bonding, and cost him future contracts.

California’s water-stealing Delta Tunnels could be approved in September - By Dan Bacher, Red, Green, and Blue, June 15, 2017 - The Delta Stewardship Council (DSC) must consider the findings of the official biological opinion during its June 22 meeting, in addition to hearing public outcry from Delta environmental justice communities, farmers, fishermen, and environmental groups, RTD noted.

Chilean mining minister responds to criticism over miners’ rescue - By Valentina Ruiz Leotaud, Mining.Com, June 14, 2017 - Last Friday, when the mine flooded following the collapse of a wall, the two miners were working in a gallery located some 1,300 metres from the entrance and 250 metres deep. Company officials believe they might have been able to seek refuge in an emergency shelter; [related]: Heavy snowfall disrupts rescue of workers trapped at Mandalay’s mine in Chile - By Cecilia Jamasmie, Mining.Com, June 16, 2017 | Mandalay’s mine fully flooded, trapped workers unlikely to be alive - By Cecilia Jamasmie, Mining.Com, June 18, 2017.

A Climate Cooling Proposal - By Peter Bane and Susan Butler, Resilience, June 15, 2017 - This is work for hundreds of millions of people presently unemployed, underemployed, or pursuing dangerous and destructive jobs.

Coal Falls Hard As Renewables Continue to Surge, Oil & Gas Giant BP Reports - By Adam Johnston, Clean Technica, June 15, 2017 - BP’s report only adds a further layer on why renewables are the way to go. If not for concerns to mitigate climate change concerns, then to advance 21st century industrial jobs in rust belt areas that desperately need high paying jobs; [related]: Forget coal, solar will soon be cheaper than natural gas power - By Joe Romm, ThinkProgress, June 15, 2017 | How wind and solar will kill coal, sooner than Finkel suggests - By Giles Parkinson, REnew Economy, June 15, 2017 | UK coal collapse plays major role in lowering global emissions - By Lauri Myllyvirta and Joe Sandler Clarke, Greenpeace Energy Desk, June 14, 2017.

Coalition of Immokalee Workers news:

Deadly dust in the TTC - By Roger Schmidt, Rank and File, June 13, 2017 - As early as 2004 the TTC has tested and knows full well that the Wilson carhouse has airborne particulate matter tied to the “blowdown” to clean the underside of the revenue cars.

Demand for judicial inquiry into Umerkot sanitation worker’s death - By staff, Pakistan Labour Watch, June 15, 2017 - Rights activists under the aegis of Sindh Human Rights Defenders Network have demanded judicial inquiry into the death of a sanitary worker in Umerkot on June 1 reportedly because of negligence of doctors and failure of municipal committee to provide protective gear to its sanitation staff.

‘Dirty Fashion’ report reveals pollution in big brands’ supply chains - By Natasha Hurley, New Internationalist, June 20, 2017 - The Changing Markets investigation in China focused on factories in the eastern provinces of Hebei, Jianxi and Shandong. The investigation team found air and water pollution, evidence of worker fatalities in the factories, and stories of severe health impacts on residents living in the vicinity of the plants.

88,000 American Solar Jobs Are Under Threat From Suniva’s Trade Case, Says SEIA - By Stephen Lacey, GreenTech Media, June 16, 2017 - There are more than 250,000 people working in America's solar industry. A bad investment by a single financier could kill a third of those jobs in one fell swoop; [related]: US Solar Industry Could Lose 88,000 Jobs If Government Rules In Suniva’s Favor - By Joshua S Hill, Clean Technica, June 16, 2017 | Throwing shade at the sun - By Nathanael Johnson, Grist, June 19, 2017.

Elon Musk Left Worker Safety On Autopilot Too Long - By David Marquet, Forbes, June 4, 2017 - The UAW are using the safety record as part of their campaign to encourage Tesla workers to unionize. The argument is that union factories are safer because union workers can speak up about safety violations without fear of losing their jobs. There maybe something to that.

Emergency procedure shake-up at Viva Energy - By Kathleen Jessop, Bay 93.9 Geelong, June 20, 2017 - There were concerns from the Australian Workers Union that the CFA may not deal with emergencies as well as the Refinery's Emergency Response Group, who are much more familiar with the layout of the area; [related] VIVA MUST GUARANTEE EMERGENCY RESPONSE - By staff, AWU, June 20, 2017.

Employers: Drop the dresscodes and let your employees off wearing suits during the heatwave, begs the TUC - By Emma Haslett, City AM, June 19, 2017 - The Trades Union Congress (TUC) called on employers to let staff off wearing suits so they can "work through the heatwave as comfortably as possible"; [related]: Let workers shed suits in hot weather, says trade union body - By staff, BBC, June 19, 2017.

Empower Kentucky Plan Would Create Jobs, Boost Energy Efficiency - By Elizabeth E. Payne, Appalachian Voices, June 15, 2017 - The plan seeks to create jobs and improve health and climate outcomes by focusing on energy efficiency and renewable energy and by charging a fee for carbon dioxide pollution.

50+ Interviews With EPA Staff: Trump Poses 'Greatest Threat' to Agency in 47-Year History - By Lorraine Crow, EcoWatch, June 20, 2017 - The group's stunning analysis, The EPA Under Siege, draws on institutional history and the insight of more than 50 interviews with long-term EPA staff, who are unidentified in the report for their protection. The report's authors have identified plummeting morale, mutual distrust between political appointees and career staff, and paralysis of operations within the EPA under current Administrator Scott Pruitt; [related]: Behind the Trumpocene - By Nikhil Swaminathan, Grist, June 20, 2017 | EPA Gives Notice to Dozens of Scientific Advisory Board Members, Plans to Offer Buyout to 1,200 Employees - By Climate Nexus, EcoWatch, June 21, 2017 | Public Records Sought Over Massive Interior Senior Staffing Shake-up - By Taylor McKinnon, Common Dreams, June 21, 2017.

Global front rising up against Uber through the courts and trade unions - By Rachel Knaebel, Equal Times, June 13, 2017 - In addition to the legal battles led by various authorities and taxi drivers, Uber is being fought on another front, by Uber drivers themselves, who are starting to organise to secure better pay and working conditions; [related]: Why Companies Like Uber Get Away With Bad Behavior - By Randall Stross, New York Times, June 13, 2017 | Is the Uber phenomenon killing transit in Sacramento? - By Tony Bizjak, Sacramento Bee, June 19, 2017.

GMO Film Narrated by Neil deGrasse Tyson: A Blatant Case of Monsanto Corporate Propaganda - By Stacy Malkan, EcoWatch, June 20, 2017 - There is no mention of the carcinogenicity concerns that are engulfing Monsanto in an international science scandal, or the many farmers who are suing Monsanto alleging they got cancer from the company's glyphosate-based Roundup herbicide.

GOP lawmakers challenge Trump’s plan to slash EPA budget - By Mark Hand, ThinkProgress, June 15, 2017 - The Trump administration, in its fiscal year 2018 budget, proposed a 31 percent cut to the EPA’s budget, or $2.4 billion below current funding levels. The agency would lose 3,800 employees under the budget proposal; [related]: Congress to Pruitt: EPA Cuts Are Way Too Extreme - By Climate Nexus, EcoWatch, June 16, 2017 | DOE will shutter office focused on international clean energy development - By Robert Walton, Utility Dive, June 16, 2017 | Pruitt faces bipartisan criticism over White House plan to gut EPA - By Robert Walton, Utility Dive, June 16, 2017 | New email and meeting records show Scott Pruitt is tight with the fossil fuel industry - By Samantha Page, ThinkProgress, June 16, 2017.

Grenfell Tower tragedy: why? - By Mick Brooks, Labour Representation Committee, June 16, 2017 - You cannot close 10 fire stations and slash nearly 600 firefighter jobs without compromising public safety.” When questioned about the closure of frontline services in London at the London Assembly, Johnson told his critics to “get stuffed”; [related]: After Grenfell: ending the murderous war on our protections - By Christine Berry, Red Pepper, June 19, 2017 | After the London Inferno, a Question For Laissez-faire Zealots: Is a Human Life Worth No More Than $100? - By Eamonn Fingleton, CounterPunch, June 19, 2017 | British people respond to Grenfell Fire and call for Social Housing - By Richard Mellor, Facts for Working People, June 17, 2017 | Collective rage, collective care - By David Berrie, People and Nature, June 19, 2017 | Day of Rage: London Marchers Denounce 'Corporate Manslaughter' of Grenfell Tower Victims - By Jon Queally, Common Dreams, June 21, 2017 | Factcheck: Grenfell Tower fire and the Daily Mail’s ‘green targets’ claim - By Leo Hickman, Carbon Brief, June 16, 2017 | A feeling of persecution that runs deep - By Al Mikey, People and Nature, June 19, 2017 | Grenfell Fire: Disaster and Explosive Mood - By John Reimann, Oakland Socialist, June 17, 2017 | The Grenfell fire must be the end of this Tory government; our lives are not safe in their hands - By Jane Shallice, Red Pepper, June 18, 2017 | Grenfell Tower Fire: A Market Driven Disaster - By Richard Mellor, Facts for Working People, June 16, 2017 | Grenfell Tower: Theresa May’s Katrina Moment - By Patrick Cockburn, CounterPunch, June 19, 2017 | Grenfell Tower tragedy shows the Tory government is illegitimate - By Andy Stowe, Socialist Action, June 20, 2017 | In the aftermath of this disaster, we must fight to restore respect and democracy for council tenants - By Glyn Robbins, Red Pepper, June 19, 2017 | Local government conference remembers Grenfell Tower - By staff, Unison, June 18, 2017 | The Monopoly board of the city: Grenfell Tower - where was the HCA, government housing regulator?? - By Red Marriott,, Jun 19 2017 | Revealed: How counselling services for firefighters have been cut back - By staff, Fire Brigades Union, June 15, 2017 | A system that let working class people burn - By Corey Oakley, Red Flag, June 19, 2017 | A Tragic Inferno in London Reflects the Terrorism of the Global Free Market - By Stephen Martin, CounterPunch, June 20, 2017 | Why the Grenfell Tower fire means everything must change - By Faiza Shaheen, Red Pepper, June 18, 2017.

How Do We End 'Food Apartheid' in America? With Farms Like This One - By Rochaun Meadows-Fernandez, AlterNet, June 12, 2017 - Farm work is often at the intersection of many oppressive structures. In the 1930s, the United States passed labor laws to protect workers; however, these laws excluded farm work and domestic labor jobs that were traditionally held by blacks and immigrants.

Iron and Earth on CBC - By staff, CBC, May 29, 2017 - Iron and Earth East's Delia Warren is interviewed by CBC's The Broadcast about our turbulent petroleum romance in Canada.

Kentucky Coal Mine Has Brighter Future as Solar Farm - By Kevin Ridder, Appalachian Voices, June 15, 2017 - As for the labor force, Berkeley Energy Project Development Executive Ryan Johns highlighted an unusual condition in the project proposal: to hire displaced coal miners in every phase of construction possible.

La Via Campesina

Lobsters in Hot Water: Climate Change Threatens Maine’s Most Valuable Fishery - By Francis Flisiuk, The Relevator, June 21, 2017 - Last week about 200 marine scientists and fishermen from 12 different countries gathered at the International Lobster Conference to try to answer that question.

Meet The Unsexy Climate Solution That Cuts Energy Bills, Creates Jobs and Saves Rivers - By James Wilt, DeSmog.Ca, June 20, 2017 - The real superstar of the report was energy efficiency, which the authors estimated would account for 34 per cent of reductions, resulting in global net-zero emissions by 2060.

More than 1,500 workers fired at Sibanye’s Cooke mine over strike - By Cecilia Jamasmie, Mining.Com, June 15, 2017 - Sibanye Gold (JSE:SGL) (NYSE:SBGL), South Africa's largest producer of the precious metal, fired Thursday more than 1,500 workers taking part in a now 9-day strike at its Cooke mine; [related]: South Africa's Sibanye says sacks 1,500 workers over wildcat strike - By Ed Stoddard, Reuters, June 15, 2017.

Nevada governor vetoes two-person crew bill - By staff, Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, June 16, 2017 - Matt Parker, the BLET’s Nevada State Legislative Board Chairman, said the bill came in response to interest expressed by freight railroad operators nationwide to reduce the current crew size for most cross-country freight trains from two persons to a single operator. Parker said such a move would represent a giant step backwards for the safety of train crews and the general public.

New Growth on Former Coal Mines - By Elizabeth E. Payne, Appalachian Voices, June 15, 2017 - Together with their partner branch Refresh Appalachia, Hall is overseeing a pilot project in Mingo County, W.Va., that he also hopes can serve as a model for others to follow. He is working with four former coal miners and a site crew chief who are actively managing eight acres of former mine land.

Norwegian oil company, DNO, refuses to pay workers in Yemen - By Brad Blankenship, Al Masdar News, June 13, 2017 - Following this strike that lasted from November 29th to December 8th of 2014, the Ministry of Oil and Minerals interfered in the conflict. DNO conceded and promised to implement the strike demands at the beginning of 2015. Once the strike was lifted, it was back to business as usual for DNO as they terminated their operations on April 27, 2015 and fired over 200 employees via email or text message.

On the Side of BIW Workers - By Bruce K Gagnon, Times Record, June 14, 2017 - The peace community does protest frequently at BIW, but we are not targeting the workers. We are trying to create a dialogue in the community around the need for a just transition towards more sustainable, less boom-and-bust types of production at BIW. We understand that General Dynamics is the entity that holds the power to make these big decisions — along with our elected officials like Collins, King, Pingree and Poliquin.

OSHA rescinds union walkaround memo - By Ryan Funk, Ethanol Producer Magazine, June 14, 2017 - Heralding a shift at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the U.S. Department of Labor has confirmed that an Obama administration OSHA memorandum permitting union or community organization representatives to take part in OSHA workplace walkthroughs of nonunion employers has been rescinded.

Pipelines and Battle Lines - By Will Parrish, North Bay Bohemian, June 14, 2017 - Opponents note the economic damage the project would wreak on landowners along the pipeline route, as well as the far greater number of jobs that would result from investments in renewable energy.

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

Sakuma workers win their first contract - By Steve Leigh, Socialist Worker, June 20, 2017 - Sakuma Bros. withheld Social Security contributions from undocumented workers' paychecks, even though they'll never receive benefits. Workers in their 60s could be seen laboring in the fields because there is no pension plan. There, they were exposed to dangerous chemicals; [related]: Farmworkers at Sakuma ratify historic first union contract - By Don McIntosh, Northwest Labor Press, June 16, 2017 | True Food Systems Change From The Bottom Up - By Families United for Justice, Popular Resistance, June 18, 2017.

Southwestern union, medical pot grower team up for worker benefits package - By staff, CBC News, June 16, 2017 - LIUNA Local 625 in Windsor announced its plan to offer cannabis to its more than 1,600 members throughout southwestern Ontario in an effort to discourage opioid prescriptions and provide a healthier, less addictive alternative.

Stanley Sturgill talks of MTR mining consequences and moving to a Just Transition - By staff, Kentuckians For The Commonwealth, June 16, 2017 - “I’m sick and tired of so many people dying from the many health problems that are a direct result from coal mining, especially mountaintop removal mining. Our people are exposed to and must breathe the dust emissions from the blasting of millions of tons of dirt and rock plus the millions of pounds of explosives our citizen continue to be exposed to,” Sturgill said. “These tragic, untimely deaths don’t have to continue.”

Switching To Solar From Coal Would Save 52,000 Lives A Year In USA (+ How To Save The Coal Miners) - By George Harvey, Clean Technica,  June 21, 2017 - Of course, there is a cost to ditching coal the study may not have taken into account. Workers in power plants that burn coal are spread all over the country and can fairly easily be helped to find new jobs. But, by contrast, coal miners are concentrated in rather small areas of the country, and the disruption to their lives would possibly mean that they would have to go beyond merely finding new jobs and would need to find new places to live, disrupting community ties and stressing their families.

Tesla Moves Into Nevada As The State Enacts Progressive New Solar Policies - By Kyle Field, Clean Technica, June 15, 2017 - The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) notes that the Nevada solar industry lost almost 2,600 jobs from the 2015 legislation; [related]: Nevada governor signs law to revive rooftop solar industry - By Elizabeth Shogren, High Country News, June 19, 2017 | Nevada Governor Signs Law to Restore Rooftop-solar Safeguards - By Chad Tudenggongbu, Center for Biological Diversity, June 15, 2017 | Nevada governor signs net metering bill - By Robert Walton, Utility Dive, June 16, 2017 | Nevada’s New Solar Law Is About Much More Than Net Metering - By Julia Pyper, GreenTech Media, June 16, 2017 | Nevada Governor Kills Renewable Energy, Community Solar Bills With Deregulation Pending  - By Julia Pyper, GreenTech Media, June 19, 2017 | Nevada governor vetoes popular RPS, community solar bill - By Robert Walton, Utility Dive, June 19, 2017 | Nevada RPS, Community Solar Bills Vetoed; Net Metering Reinstated - By staff, Renewable Energy World, June 19, 2017.

3 workers killed as mine caves in Nagaur - By Dishank Purohit, Times of India, May 28, 2017 - Three workers died and three others were injured after a marble stone mine caver in in Makrana area of Nagaur district on Sunday evening. The rescue operation were in full swing till late evening.

Time to revitalize the anti-war movement - By staff, CUPW, June 16, 2017 - Of course, there is a cost to ditching coal the study may not have taken into account. Workers in power plants that burn coal are spread all over the country and can fairly easily be helped to find new jobs. But, by contrast, coal miners are concentrated in rather small areas of the country, and the disruption to their lives would possibly mean that they would have to go beyond merely finding new jobs and would need to find new places to live, disrupting community ties and stressing their families.

Tube walkout over 'clash' with fare dodger is called off due to new strike laws - By Dick Murray, Evening Standard, June 20, 2017 - The union said today there had been a “massive yes vote in London Bridge 3 ballot, but Tory anti-strike law thwarts democratic action.”

Union Warns Against Driverless Trucks Hauling Hazardous Material - By Matthew Taibi, Teamsters, June 8, 2017 - “Airgas has been demanding contract language nationally that would allow the company to operate driverless vehicles. They have failed to take into consideration the potential dangers of the cargo or the fact that it could jeopardize the safety of the public if an accident were to occur,” said Sean M. O’Brien, Teamsters International Vice President and Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Joint Council 10 New England.

The unsustainable whiteness of green - By Nikhil Swaminathan, Grist, June 20, 2017 - For organizations that truly want a more inclusive workforce, creating a diversity plan is one of the strongest first steps, says Beasley, who cofounded a diversity consulting firm called The T10 Group. Such efforts require an audit, clearly defined benefits, goal setting, and mechanisms to monitor progress.

Watch John Oliver call BS on Trump’s promises to coal miners - By Manola Secaira, Grist, June 20, 2017 - Trump’s promise that coal miners will be saved by reducing regulations on coal companies is dishonest, Oliver explained on Sunday night’s segment, since the goals of those companies and the miners they employ aren’t the same. (Ever heard of Don Blankenship?);[related]: Coal Boss Sues HBO Over John Oliver Show - By Lorraine Chow, EcoWatch, June 22, 2017 | US coal tycoon Robert Murray sues ‘Last Week Tonight’ host, network - By Cecilia Jamasmie,, June 22, 2017.

West Virginians are realistic about coal’s demise, even if politicians aren’t - By Mark Hand, ThinkProgress, June 16, 2017 - “It is entirely possible that Trump’s policies could help create more coal jobs?—?though many analysts say that’s unlikely because the coal industry is in a structural downturn,” CNBC reported Thursday; [related]: Midwest states cling to coal as natural gas dominates other regional markets - By Robert Walton, Utility Dive, June 19, 2017.

What Happens When The Oil Economy Collapses? - By Zachary Shahan, Clean Technica, June 17, 2017 -
The question is simple and stark, but there will be a gradient of effects, and side-effects, and after-effects. As the oil economy collapses, the world will change. And it will change a great deal; [related]: One View of the Fall of Oil & Gas - By George Harvey, Clean Technica, June 19, 2017.

Women Small-Holder Farmers Are Key Drivers for Sustainable Production - By Sally Nyakanyanga, Inter Press Service, June 12, 2017 - Machingauta, who is the founder and director of Women's Farming Syndicate, an organization that supports women smallholder farmers in Domboshaw), explains how the lack of skills to make use of technology and limited time for training for women -- compounded by climate change -- has worsened the plight of women in the area.

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

Workers claiming they had to sleep with the chickens face Thai court charges - By Kate Hodal, The Guardian, June 6, 2017 - In a landmark case, the migrant workers could face up to a year in a Thai prison and heavy fines after reporting alleged mistreatment and abuse at a poultry farm.

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.

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