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EcoWobbles - EcoUnionist News #161

Compiled by x344543 - IWW Environmental Unionism Caucus, July 1, 2017

A smorgasbord of news of interest to green unionists:

Abbott’s death-wish on industry: Freeze RET, ban wind, build coal - By Giles Parkinson, REnew Economy, June 27, 2017 - The facility was about to be cancelled because of the soaring cost of gas, but having locked in prices under its 100 per cent renewable scenario, it will now go ahead with some 1,300 jobs and the largest such facility in the country, supplying markets in Australia and overseas; [related]: Research finds huge majority of Australians want an energy system dominated by renewables - By The Climate Institute, REnew Economy, June 27, 2017.

AKG Thermotechnik fires union leaders in Turkey - By staff, IndustriALL, June 15, 2017 - Workers responded to the dismissal of union leaders by staying in the factory. Management called the police, who evicted the workers. A total of 25 workers have now been dismissed. The workers are maintaining a picket outside the plant.

Beyond the War on Coal - By Katie O'Reilly, Sierra, June 23, 2017 - Economic diversification in coal country is a really important conversation we wanted to address. One of the things that was really important to me was pointing out the fact that there are roughly 51,000 coal miners in the country—more people are employed by Whole Foods.

Cambodian female workers in Nike, Asics and Puma factories suffer mass faintings - By Karen McVeigh, The Guardian, June 24, 2017 - Poor ventilation and chemicals inside and outside factories contribute to the gruelling working environment, while workers at provincial factories can face exhausting journeys into work, standing for up to two hours in trucks; [related]: A Global Call to Action Against Nike - By staff, United Students Against Sweatshops, June 25, 2017.

Closing Navajo Nation’s coal plant is not justice - By Andrew Curley, High Country News, June 28, 2017 - When Indian Country’s largest coal-fired power plant shuts down, the Navajo Nation will sacrifice hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars in revenues after decades of sacrificing its land, water, air, health and lives to provide energy to the residents of Arizona, California and Nevada.

Coalition of Immokalee Workers news:

Collapse of transmission tower in Newfoundland kills two workers - By Jeff Cottri, OHS Canada, June 27, 2017 - Construction of a transmission line was halted west of Come by Chance, N.L. on June 19, after two workers were killed by a transmission tower’s sudden collapse.

Colombia coal mine explosion kills 13 - By Andrew Topf, Mining.Com, June 25, 2017 - Thirteen coal miners have died in Colombia after an explosion at an illegal coal mine on Friday.

Concern that new Brexit minister supports removing asbestos laws - By Barckley Sumner, Unite the Union,  June 24, 2017 - Unite is demanding that the government now provide ‘cast-iron guarantees’ that asbestos regulations won’t be watered down.

Could a Trade Dispute with China Bring an End to U.S. Solar Boom? - By Marc Gunther, Yale Environment 360, June 27, 2017 - Most solar jobs in the United States are in sales and installation, not manufacturing, but tariffs could drive up the cost of solar and make it less competitive; [related]: CEO: US Solar Trade Case is a Job Killer - By Jennifer Runyon, Renewable Energy World, June 28, 2017 | Solar Costs Are Hitting Jaw-Dropping Lows in Every Region of the World - By Eric Wesoff and Stephen Lacey, GreenTech Media, June 27, 2017.

Death of a sanitary worker - By staff, Labour Watch Pakistan, June 22, 2017 - The workers are not provided any safety gear, equipment or formal training in what they do. They have to work under extremely hazardous and life-threatening conditions. Serious accidents are not uncommon in this trade; [related]: Sanitation workers clean our cities, but they are denied even minimum wage - By staff, City Today, June 25, 2017.

18 farm workers hospitalized for suspected insecticide exposure - By Sara Rubin, Monterey County Weekly, June 23, 2017 - By 7am, all 18 workers were in the emergency room at Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital, where medical staff called a "code triage," setting up a command center and a mobile decontamination shower trailer where workers were cleaned.

EPA accelerates purge of scientists - By Natasha Geiling, ThinkProgress, June 21, 2017 - “This independent advice is needed now more than ever. By sacking dozens of scientific counselors, Pruitt is showing that he doesn’t value scientific input and the benefits it offers the public.”; [related]: Dozens of EPA Staffers Weigh In on the Damage Trump Has Inflicted - By Rebecca Leber, Mother Jones, June 22, 2017 | E.P.A. Official Pressured Scientist on Congressional Testimony, Emails Show - By Coral Davenport, New York Times, June 26, 2017 | EPA Pushes Actual Scientists Out The Door - By Natasha Geiling, Clean Technica, June 22, 2017 | EPA Veteran: “Scott Pruitt Is Taking the Agency in the Wrong Direction” - By Michael Cox, Sightline Institute, June 26, 2017 | GOP war on science: EPA chief of staff bullies scientist into mangling testimony - By Meteor Blades, Environmental Defense Fund, June 27, 2017 | A top scientist ‘felt bullied’ to downplay facts by EPA chief of staff - By Manola Secaira, Grist, June 27, 2017 | Trump and Pruitt’s Ax to EPA Budget Threatens Water, Air, Public Health  - By Ben Ratner, Environmental Working Group, June 27, 2017 | Trump Proposal Puts Americans at Greater Risk from Toxic Chemicals - By staff, Environmental Working Group, June 22, 2017 | When Trump’s agencies undermine small businesses supporting responsible energy - By Ben Ratner, Environmental Defense Fund, June 20, 2017.

Firefighters' union has to be core participant in Grenfell inquiry, MPs told - By staff, Fire Brigades Union, June 22, 2017 - The union’s letter to MPs included references to cuts to the fire and rescue service, with a new figure obtained this week via a Freedom of Information request that 11,000 frontline firefighter jobs have been lost since 2010 – until recently the figure was 10,000. This equates to almost one fifth (20%) of the entire workforce, which the FBU know puts public safety at risk; [related]: Deregulation Taskforce Targeted Building Standards Before Grenfell Tower Blaze - By Zachary Davies Boren and Guy Shrubsole, Energydesk, June 27, 2017 | Grenfell Tower: A Disaster Waiting to Happen - By Graham Peebles, CounterPunch, June 23, 2017 | Grenfell Tower residents evicted from hotel with just hours’ notice - By Radical Housing Network, Red Pepper, June 23, 2017 | NUT, FBU , ATL warn Government of current fire risks in schools - By Kevin Courtney, et. al., NUT, June 20, 2017 | Theresa May and the Tories are in Freefall - By Kenneth Surin, CounterPunch, June 27, 2017 | Unions call for 'urgent' clarity on fire-proof cladding and sprinklers in schools - By Charlotte Santry, TES, June 20, 2017 | Unions demand ‘urgent reassurances’ on school fire safety after Grenfell blaze - By Billy Camden, Schools Week, June 20, 2017 | Union passes no confidence motion in fire authority as firefighter posts, size of crews and fire audits all plummet - By Radical Housing Network, Fire Brigades Union, June 27, 2017 | Unite seeks action after sharp fall in construction inspections revealed - By staff, Unite, June 22, 2017.

Fossil Fuel CEOs Say They Just Want to Lift People Out of Poverty. Do You Believe Them? - By Justin Mikulka, DeSmog Blog, June 21, 2017 - For years the coal industry has also pushed the idea that it is motivated by a desire to help people in developing countries by providing them with coal-powered electricity. A viewing of John Oliver’s recent piece on the coal industry and its focus on some industry CEOs — along with their less-than-stellar history of prioritizing the safety and well-being of workers over profits — doesn’t really make that believable; [related]: End of coal: Failure to see it coming will hurt miners most - By Oliver Sartor and Andrzej Błachowicz, Climate Change News, June 25, 2017 | ‘Nobody wants to be part of a dying culture’: Reddit on the end of coal - By Jill Russo , Climate Change News, June 26, 2017 | 'There's No Such Thing as Clean Coal' - By Stefanie Spear, EcoWatch, June 26, 2017 | Trump’s energy week looks a lot like his health care bill. Disastrous - By David Turnbull, Oil Change International, June 27, 2017.

Germany Shows it’s Worth Fighting for Energy Democracy - By Arne Jungiohann and Craig Morris, Resilience, June 22, 2017 - The second take-away is that the German energy transition is an economic showcase. Renewables create jobs. In 2016, roughly 355,000 people worked in the German renewables sector.

GOC labor union official ‘decries’ number of death cases of workers; Company held responsible - By staff, Arab Times, June 24, 2017 - Shamsudeen held the company fully responsible for the increased number of death cases among its employees due to lack of required medical facilities that should be available as stated by the labor law.

High Cabin Temperatures Have Sacramento RT Operators Fearing the Worst - By Joe Khalil, Fox 40, June 23, 2017 - The problem has gotten so bad some operators have called dispatch and said they can't work; they've had to stop and take a break mid-shift or leave the train and ask for a substitution.

Illinois Should NOT Kill Jobs and Take from Utility Customers to Bail Out the Budget - By David Jakubiak and Billy Weinberg, Environmental Law & Policy Center, June 26, 2017 - Solar Job Training, Low Income Programs Shouldn’t Be Pawns in Budget Fight.

India Could Add 300,000 Renewable Energy Jobs In Five Years, But Is Unlikely To Do So - By Saurabh Mahapatra, Clean Technica, June 23, 2017 - In its attempt to meet some of the most aggressive capacity addition targets, India could add around 300,000 new jobs in the renewable energy sector, a report by the Natural Resources Defense Council states.

Instead of War, Spend Big on 'Human and Environmental Needs' - By Andrea Germanos, Common Dreams, June 26, 2017 - Over 250 U.S. mayors have rejected President Donald Trump's call for an increased Pentagon billions and instead called for a budget that supports "human and environmental needs."; [related]: 1,400 mayors: If Trump won’t lead on climate action, we will - By Dominique Mosbergen, Grist, June 28, 2017 | Hundreds of U.S. Mayors Commit to 100 Percent Renewable Energy, Climate Leadership - By Chad Tudenggongbu, Center for Biological Diversity, June 27, 2017 | It’s time for cities to treat climate change like a public health crisis - By Malcolm Araos, James Ford, and Stephanie Austin, Grist, June 26, 2017 | Meet the mayors rejecting Trump’s dirty energy agenda and embracing a fully renewable future - By Jeremy Deaton, ThinkProgress, June 27, 2017 | More Than 250 US Mayors Commit To 100% Renewable Energy Amidst Adoption Of New Climate Resolution - By Joshua S Hill, Clean Technica, June 28, 2017 | US Conference of Mayors Approves Resolution Calling for 100 Percent Renewable Energy in American Cities - By staff, Renewable Energy World, June 27, 2017 | U.S. Conference of Mayors Calls for Moving Money from Pentagon to Cities - By Medea Benjamin, Common Dreams, June 26, 2017 | U.S. Mayors Back 100% Renewable Energy, Vow to Fill Climate Leadership Void - By Nicholas Kusnetz, InsideClimate News, June 26, 2017 | US mayors pass resolution to target 100% renewable energy by 2035 - By Robert Walton, Utility Dive, June 27, 2017 | With Ambitious Renewable Energy Goal, Mayors Take the Lead - By Peter Hart, Common Dreams, June 26, 2017.

La Via Campesina

Mississippi realizes how to make a clean coal plant work: Run it on natural gas - By Joe Romm, ThinkProgress, June 22, 2017 - Last summer, the New York Times published a scathing expose on the project, run by Southern Company’s Mississippi Power unit. Internal emails, documents, and secretly recorded conversations provided by a whistleblower “show that the plant’s owners drastically understated the project’s cost and timetable and repeatedly tried to conceal problems as they emerged.”; [related]: Mississippi Regulators Veto Any More Money for Southern Company's Kemper 'Clean Coal' Plant in Stunning Vote - By Dan Zegart, Climate Investigations Center, June 21, 2017 | Southern suspends work on Kemper coal gasification units - By Gavin Bade, Utility Dive, June 28, 2017.

New US Energy Dept. Grid Study Even Gives Oil & Gas The Heebie-Jeebies - By Tina Casey, Clean Technica, June 28, 2017 - For that matter, so far Perry has had practically nothing to say about bringing coal jobs back, at least not for coal mining communities; [related]: “Baseload”: An outdated term that should not be confused with “reliability” - By Giles Parkinson, REnew Economy, June 28, 2017 | Energy Week: Perry touts all-of-the-above strategy in push for 'energy dominance' - By Krysti Shallenberger, Utility Dive, June 28, 2017 | The Rising Tide of Evidence Against Blaming Wind and Solar for Grid Instability - By Jeff St. John, GreenTech Media, June 28, 2017 | 7 Things We Expect to See in Rick Perry’s Unnecessary and Biased Grid Study - By Steve Clemmer, Union of Concerned Scientists, June 22, 2017.

New York City pensions divest from private prisons - By Tish James, Fossil Free, June 21, 2017 - The next right thing to do is move on freezing new investments in fossil fuel companies, cut ties from the likes of climate criminal ExxonMobil and start reinvesting in NY communities and climate solutions companies that are creating good local jobs; [related]: Flood warning disrupts New York City pension meeting - By staff, Fossil Free, June 21, 2017.

OSHA to Roll Back Rules on Toxic Mineral at Construction Sites - By Barry Meier, New York Times, June 23, 2017 - The Occupational Safety and Health Administration proposed on Friday a rollback of some Obama-era rules to protect workers in the maritime and construction industries from beryllium, a potentially deadly mineral.

Overheated French male bus drivers don skirts in defiance of dress code - By Kim Willsher, The Guardian, June 22, 2017 - “We asked to be able to wear clothing suitable for the high temperatures, but were told we couldn’t wear shorts. Because skirts are authorised, we are wearing them,” Didier Sauvetre, a driver and union representative told the local paper Press Ocean.

Press Release on Chemical Disaster Rule Delay - by Yvette Arellano, Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services, June 22, 2017 - Today, a coalition of groups representing workers, scientists and community members near chemical facilities filed a motion seeking emergency relief from the D.C Circuit court to stop the Environmental Protection Agency from delaying needed updates to the agency’s Risk Management Program, also known as the Chemical Disaster Rule; [related]: Trump Proposal Puts Americans at Greater Risk from Toxic Chemicals - By Alex Formuzis, Environmental Working Group, June 22, 2017 | Trump’s Toxic Turn on Chemical Safetys - By Scott Faber, Environmental Working Group, June 23, 2017.

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

Recycling E-Waste with Workers Looking for a Second Chance - By Arlene Karidis, Waste360, June 27, 2017 - “This is a prime example of closing the loop, reclaiming not only the value of materials but of these ex-offenders. And they are providing us with a valuable waste solution,” he says.

‘A Redder Shade of Green’ explores the intersections of science and socialism - By Martin Empson, Climate and Capitalism, June 26, 2017 - What is needed is “building mass environmental campaigns” that can relate to the majority of the population, based in scientific realities. Here in the UK, for instance, we’ve tried to do this, by arguing for the trade union movement to adopt the One Million Climate Jobs campaign. This recognizes the need to reduce UK emissions by 90 percent and then shows how this is possible through the creation of jobs that reduce emissions and a transition away from the fossil fuel economy.

The right way to rewrite NAFTA - By Mark Engler, New Internationalist, June 2017 - In mid-January, trade unionists, family farmers and environmentalists from Canada, the US and Mexico came together to articulate a vision for NAFTA replacement ‘based on social justice, sovereignty, and sustainable development’.

Scores of farm workers, activists march on Ben & Jerry’s - By Wilson Ring, Associated Press, June 19, 2017 - The Milk with Dignity program was developed in 2014 by farm workers and the Vermont group Migrant Justice to ensure that farms provide them fair wages and working conditions and decent housing. In 2015, Ben & Jerry’s agreed to join the program. Since then, the two sides have been negotiating over the details; [related]: Positive Actions You Can Take This Summer - By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese, Popular Resistance, June 24, 2017.

Search for two workers trapped at Mandalay’s mine in Chile fails - By Cecilia Jamasmie, Mining.Com, June 27, 2017 - Canada's Mandalay Resources (TSX:MND) and Chilean authorities said Tuesday efforts to find two trapped workers at the company’s flooded silver and gold mine in the country was unsuccessful, adding that any possibility of finding them alive has been ruled out.

State Regulators Investigate Burn Injury at Tesla’s Fremont Plant - By Alyssa Jeong Perry, KQED 88.1 FM, June 20, 2017 - This incident comes at a time when Tesla employees make moves toward unionizing as a response to the company’s workplace safety record. Some Tesla employees are working with the United Auto Workers Union to organize the Fremont plant. Those workers cite poor work safety conditions as one of their reasons for unionizing.

Study on Progression of Severe Black Lung Shows Disease Not Being Detected Soon Enough Due to Infrequent X-rays of Coal Miners  - By Evan B. Smith, Devil in the Dust, June 26, 2017 - The study says that the miners who got more x-rays were more likely to catch the disease earlier.

Transit Workers Take the Driver's Seat in 'Right-to-Work' Tennessee - By Chris Brooks, Labor Notes, June 23, 2017 - Organizing conversations are a key recruitment tool. Union officers and stewards meet with workers to hear about workplace problems and plan how to fix them. They reach out at every opportunity, including at new-hire orientation, during training, and when they meet to bid for jobs.

TWU Highlights Spike in Truck Deaths and Exploitation in Transport Industry at Senate Inquiry - By staff, TWU, June 26, 2017 - Almost 40% of all workplace deaths this year involve transport workers. In the past year, deaths from articulated trucks are up 7.2% and deaths from heavy rigid vehicles are up 4.1%.

Trump bashes wind energy in a state that gets a third of its electricity from wind - By Natasha Geiling, ThinkProgress, June 22, 2017 - According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the wind industry currently employs more than 100,000 people in the United States, and wind turbine technician is the fastest growing occupation in the country. In 2016, wind capacity — the total amount of output a particular electricity generator can produce at a given time — passed hydropower to become the largest sourceof renewable energy capacity in the United States.

Trump’s Interior Secretary defends his plan to cut at least 4,000 staff - By Jenny Rowland, ThinkProgress, June 22, 2017 - According to Trump’s fantasy plan, BLM is supposed to achieve ‘energy independence’ before its coffee break, stimulate rural ‘job creation’ by lunch and do it with substantially less resources,” said PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch, noting that BLM failed to identify any functions the bureau is supposed to set aside.

Why Coal Mining Families Should Embrace A Fee On Carbon - By Nick Mullins, Huffington Poast, June 22, 2017 - Short of nationalizing Appalachia’s mines and coal reserves—however fitting it might be given the unethical means used to obtain our mineral rights in the first place—we must seek out a just transition capable of addressing the many economic and environmental issues our region faces; [related]: House Committee approves the RECLAIM Act with bipartisan support - By staff, Appalachian Voices, June 27, 2017 | Just Transition gets a boost with approval of RECLAIM Act by congressional committee - By staff, Kentuckians For The Commonwealth, June 27, 2017 | RECLAIM Act’s Passage Through House Committee Gives Hope to Hundreds of Communities Near Abandoned Coal Mines - By Brian Willis, Sierra Club, June 27, 2017.

Women’s co-op dairy in Kenya breaks agricultural glass ceiling - By  Wesley Langat, Climate Change News, June 22, 2017 - Raising cattle instead of selling firewood and charcoal is empowering women and allowing trees to grow back in a denuded part of rural Kenya.

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.

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