EcoWobbles - EcoUnionist News #155

Compiled by x344543 - IWW Environmental Unionism Caucus, May 26, 2017

A smorgasbord of news of interest to green unionists:

(About) 10 Million People Employed In Global Renewable Energy Industries, Reports IRENA - By Joshua S Hill, Clean Technica, May 24, 2017 - The renewable energy industry continues to grow, and new figures from the International Renewable Energy Agency show that it now employs nearly 10 million people worldwide; [related]: IRENA forecasts 24 million renewable energy jobs worldwide by 2030 - By Elizabeth Perry, Work and Climate Change Report, May 24, 2017 | As Others Plot the Renewables Revolution, Trump Walks Backwards to Drill Arctic National Wildlife Refuge - By Andy Rowell, Oil Change International, May 24, 2017 | Renewable Energy Powers Jobs for Almost 10 Million People - By Mahmoud Habboush, Bloomberg, May 24, 2017 | Solar industry drives renewable energy job growth worldwide - By Ryan Maye Handy, FuelFix, May 24, 2017.

After Five-Year Effort, California Adopts the Nation’s Strongest Refinery Safety Regulations - By staff, Blue-Green Alliance, May 18, 2017 - Oil companies will be required to use the safest equipment, and production line workers — not just bosses — will have authority to shut down units they deem unsafe, under the new rule adopted Thursday; [related]: Will new California refinery safety rule save lives, prevent toxic releases? - By Denis Cuff, Bay Area News Group, May 19, 2017

America's Largest Pension Fund Has Dumped a Fortune Into Monsanto Stock - By Zen Honeycutt, Alternet, May 17, 2017 - I was recently informed by a former California public health employee, that CalPERS, the state's pension and health care fund, the largest in the nation, has invested $136 million in Monsanto.

Anjin employees still waiting for termination benefits - By Valentina Ruiz Leotaud, Mining.Com, May 22, 2017 - A report published today by Zimbabwean newspaper News Day reveals that 127 former Anjin Investments employees owed some $407,442 in termination benefits won’t receive payments anytime soon. According to the paper, their application was removed from the roll at the High Court pending Anjin’s Constitutional Court challenge against the State.

Asbestos Blocked for 6th Time from Hazardous Substances List - By Matt Mauney, Abestos.Com, May 17, 2017 - “Failure to list chrysotile asbestos on Annex III once again is an absolute disgrace,” Andrew Dettmer, the national president of the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) said. “While they dither, a quarter of a million people will die from asbestos-related diseases.”

China Shows Why Renewable Energy Is The Future, Not Coal - By Steve Hanley, Clean Technica, May 22, 2017 - With his typical penchant for substituting personal opinions for facts, Trump trumpets that more coal, not renewable energy, equals more jobs. China’s experience gives the lie to that narrative. The Shanghai Waigaoqiao No. 3 power station has two 1,000 megawatt ultra- supercritical units. 250 employees operate both.

Chinese Turbine Manufacturer Goldwind Wants to Hire Out-of-Work Coal Miners - By Julian Spector, GreenTech Media, May 23, 2017 - Wyoming has been shedding coal jobs lately. Goldwind wants to put that skilled labor back to work for wind energy.

CLC must strengthen and grow, says re-elected president Hassan Yussuff - By Meagan Gillmore, Rabble.Ca, May 23, 2017 - The convention was organized around four main themes: fairness, equity, green jobs and organizing to strengthen the union movement. But focus is required. "If we're going to take something on, we have to be successful at it instead of just making a loud noise and then moving on to something else," he said.

"Clean This Place, Don't Displace": Activists Battle for Environmental Justice in Washington, DC - By Devi Lockwood, Truthout, May 19, 2017 - On April 29, 200,000 climate activists descended on DC for the People's Climate March, a demonstration of unity for jobs, justice, and climate action. "We resist, we build, we rise," protesters chanted. What happens, though, after those activists have gone home?

Coalition of Immokalee Workers news:

ConocoPhillips cutting 300 jobs in Calgary following Cenovus deal - By Ethan Lou, Toronto Globe and Mail, May 4, 2017 - ConocoPhillips will lay off 300 Canadian workers after selling most local assets to domestic crude producer Cenovus Energy Inc, the Houston-based company said on Thursday; [related]: Price of oil drops and more layoffs announced in Calgary - By Michael Franklin, CTV, May 5, 2017.

Cosatu blames government, mining sector for Welkom zama zama deaths - By staff, Times Live, May 19, 2017 - "We want to hear them offering concrete proposals on how they are going to improve in implementing mine closures‚ especially considering the mining industry’s poor environmental legacy. We still see many mines being abandoned‚ with mine shafts left open‚ resulting in the development of contaminated mine water; [related]: 'We call it the zama graveyard': 4 brothers among more than 40 killed in blast - By Graeme Hosken, Times Live, May 19, 2017

Delegates: Renationalise railways to save service - By Steve Sweeney, People's Daily Morning Star, May 20, 2017 - DELEGATES to the TUC Disabled Workers’ Conference called on commuters yesterday to rally behind the party which will renationalise the railways and keep safety-critical train guards.

Despite what the Trump administration says, coal is out - By Bill Corcoran, High Country News, May 24, 2017 - Even states that have relatively low clean- energy goals are seeing major economic benefits. According to the Department of Energy, nearly 38,000 Utahns work in solar, wind, smart grid and battery storage. Even though the clean-energy industry is relatively young, it is growing faster than any other energy source and employs more people than coal, oil or gas.

Don Blankenship, Fresh Out of Prison, Begs Trump to Have Mercy on Coal Execs - By Ben Jervey, DeSmog Blog, May 19, 2017 - Don Blankenship, who just wrapped up a year in federal prison for criminal conspiracy to violate mine safety and health rules — a coordinated and concealed series of violations that lasted for at least 15 months leading up to the tragic Upper Big Branch mine explosion that killed 29 coal workers — emerged from his incarceration unrepentant, and none the humbler.

Farming the most dangerous of occupations, report finds - By staff, RTE, May 24, 2017 - Over the past decade 197 people have died in farm accidents in Ireland and so far this year another 11 fatalities have been added to that total; [realted]: Farmers slow to get help with tough jobs - By Catherine Shanahan, Irish Examiner, May 24, 2017.

G20 must support good jobs in the low carbon transition - By Ivetta Gerasimchuk and Anabella Rosemberg, Climate Change News, May 23, 2017 - Donald Trump’s unrealistic promise to put coal miners back to work shows why we need a positive strategy to create green jobs; [related]: Getting Full Employment: the Fake Way and the Right Way - By Frank Stricker, CounterPunch, May 22, 2017.

Hanford is Ripe for a Radioactive Explosion - By Joshua Frank, CounterPunch, May 18, 2017 - How surprising was the accident, which forced thousands of workers to find safety? Not very, according to a report uncovered by the Seattle-based advocacy group Hanford Challenge.

'If there is a risk, I want to know about it.' TTC, unions agree to study air pollution - By Andrea Janus, CBC News, May 23, 2017 - The TTC and the three unions representing transit employees have agreed to hire a third party to test air quality across the system a month after a study suggested air pollution is a significant problem on the city's subways.

Investigation Shows Yale Isn’t The Climate-Conscious Investor It Claims To Be - By Chris D’Angelo, Huffington Post, May 16, 2017 - UNITE HERE Local 33, a union of graduate employees, and Fossil Free Yale, a student group pushing for the Ivy League school to divest completely from the oil and gas industry, confronted the university with their findings in a Tuesday letter to Yale’s chief investment officer, David Swensen; [related]: Yale: Whose Side Are You Really On? - By Rachel Calnek-Sugin, Fossil Free, May 19, 2017

Is Media Being Suckered By United Auto Workers Union As Tesla Claims? - By James Ayre, Clean Technica, May 21, 2017 - (I)f the UAW became concerned about worker issues before 2017, which seems to be the case, it stands to reason that it might have spent months planning ways to put pressure on Tesla — all while Tesla was seemingly improving workplace conditions and employee hours on its own.

Jobs? Investing in renewables beats fossil fuels - By Allan Hoffman, Energy Post, May 19, 2017 - Solar and wind are no longer niche businesses, their widespread use addresses global warming and climate change, and their manufacture and deployment are powerful engines of economic growth and job creation.

Political Declaration – Second Continental Assembly of the CLOC-LVC

By staff - La Via Campesina, Feb 9, 2017

Declaration from the Second Continental Assembly of the CLOC-LVC

(Santandercito 4 May 2017) The Latin American Coordination of Rural Organizations, CLOC-La Via Campesina, met in Santandercito, Cundinamarca, Colombia – home to Camilo Torres, María Cano, Juan de la Cruz Varela, Víctor J. Merchan. 150 delegates and 80 organisations representing peasants, indigenous, and afro-descendent peoples coming from 22 countries in Latin America also came to commemorate the Second Continental Assembly, under the slogan: Against Capitalism, for the Sovereignty of our Peoples: the Americas remain united in Struggle ­­– dedicated to the Eternal Commander Fidel Castro Ruz.

We are aware that we are living in a period of imperial coups against people and democracy, and where popular struggles, campaigners and organizations are losing their legitimacy. We are aware that we are living in a period of media dictatorships, bureaucracies, bourgeois States and coup governments. We are aware that we are living in a backward-looking period of conservatism, compounded by a sharp resurgence in the Right throughout the world, where, in recent years, governments are stripping away previously-accorded rights. There is currently a dispute as to who holds global hegemony. Ever since the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989, the US had no opposition in holding world hegemony. Today, this is no longer the case, and China is challenging the US to world hegemony. Geopolitics has become a hot topic in the world that is responsible for these coups. What is more, new blocks such as BRICS have challenged this hegemonic power.

We focus our discussion on the obstacles that hinder the construction of a socialist society. We hold our discussions starting from having a clear understanding of the current challenges faced by our continent, and the world capitalist crisis that started in 2008. Today, this crisis has lead to readjustments taking place in peripheral countries, and money is transferred from these to central countries in order to help the latter get out of the crisis. High capital investment seeks ways of using natural assets, oil, land, water and nature as ways of gaining wealth and power.

We reject exclusive, neoliberal, imperial, patriarchal, and capitalist models that run counter to nature’s harmony and its relationship to human beings and the peace of the people, and that break away from the collective and visionary unity of social justice.

We reiterate our commitment as men, women, young people, peoples and nations to transform our societies right down from day-to-day activities, and achieve unity in diversity, all while maintaining an international perspective. We are committed to prioritizing grassroots-work via political and ideological training, and by using alternative tools and our media to strengthen our fights and achieve Socialism.

We reiterate our commitments to our campaigns and we propose a continental campaign for water to be considered as heritage of the people.

We will continue to work with the youth and strengthen their work, as they will be securing victories in future struggles.

We reaffirm our commitment to coordinate struggles via strategic alliances with other popular organizations and movements in an effort to achieve the Bolivian dream of the Patria Grande (Great Homeland): a socialist society where we will have to overcome huge obstacles in order to put an end to violence against women, and to safeguard the lives of the leaders of popular movements. We pay close attention to the Colombian government complying with the PEACE agreements, the rights of peasants, and the self-sufficient nature of the progressive processes coming out of our continent.

The CLOC-LVC closely monitors the Colombian government, ensuring that it complies with the clauses it signed in the Peace agreement. We closely monitor point one in particular –regarding a complete rural reform with a territorial approach – in order to ensure that the Colombian people have access to commons in order to achieve Food Sovereignty.

We salute the Cuban Revolution and the Bolivian Revolution, recognising them as beacons of Socialism in our America. The Revolutions intensify our hope as Latin Americans, and we stand in solidarity with the struggle and resistance of the people and government of Venezuela against the harsh onslaught of the empire.

We consider Food Sovereignty and Agroecology as basic principles, and as alternative methods to cooling down the planet. We consider them as the only way of changing the current model imposed by agribusinesses and transnational companies. We reiterate that peasant and indigenous agriculture is the only way of feeding humanity in a way that is healthy, sustainable, and that safeguards biodiversity and identities.

We call on all socialist fighting forces to revive the constant struggle for ideology and justice, taking inspiration from the historic struggles of previous generations that paid testament to solidarity among people. We are preparing for the La Vía Campesina’s seventh global conference. As part of our contribution to the political debate at the conference, we will discuss the challenges that the world is currently facing, and we will reiterate the need for unity in this Global Peasant Movement.

We will continue to struggle in order to safeguard life, seeds, water, land, territories and all commons that stem from the collective rights that Mother Earth has given us. The aim of our actions is to have a more socially humane, fair and equal society.

Who Bombed Judi Bari? Feature Documentary

By Darryl Cherney - YouTube, Feb 9, 2017

Premiering on youtube and winner of 6 awards, this feature documentary filled with music, humor, and inspiration is a blueprint for activism in these more than urgent times. The Martin Luther King of the Redwoods, Judi Bari was an Earth First!er, AFL-CIO and IWW labor organizer, radical feminist, world class orator, author of Timber Wars, fiddler and songwriter, fundraiser, mother of two girls and a force of nature. See why she was car bombed and arrested by the FBI and Oakland Police for the deed done against her. Then learn how to save the forests, forge alliances and beat the feds. Foreign subtitles coming soon. Produced by her organizing partner and fellow car-bomb victim and litigant, Darryl Cherney. Directed and edited by Mary Liz Thomson. You can learn more and purchase DVD's, t-shirts and bumper stickers here: http://whobombedjudibari.com/ You can "like" us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Who-Bombed-J...

Backbone Campaign’s people-powered plan to electrify America’s railroads

By Sydney Parker - Real Change, May 3, 2017

In our fractured political climate, it’s hard to envision a cause that could unite a rural farmer with a big-city tech worker, a union laborer with a grassroots environmentalist, or a tribal leader with a government official, but Bill Moyer thinks he’s found just the cause: Solutionary Rail.

Solutionary Rail proposes that the public electrify America’s railroads, run them on renewable energy and transform railroad corridors into electricity superhighways transmitting wind and solar energy from remote rural areas to urban centers. If enacted, Moyer said the proposal would recenter the role of rail in U.S. transportation and provide the public with a new sustainable source of economic vitality.

In other words, with Solutionary Rail, everybody wins.  

“It provides almost a psychic relief from the burden of being defined by what we oppose,” said Moyer, who serves as executive director of the Washington state-based Backbone Campaign, a nonporift that creates “artful activism.” “This offers an opportunity to be for something great, to be in dialogue with communities that we may not have anything else otherwise in common about some shared interest.”

It all began with Mike Elliott, a rail labor leader affiliated with the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen. In 2013, Elliott challenged Moyer to devise a “green” concept for modernization of the northern corridor railroad. Elliott is best known in Washington state for blowing the whistle on safety violations by Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) railroad. His call for change was echoed by hundreds of BNSF employees fed up with the status quo.

3 Steps to Building Just Transition Now with a Permanent Community Energy Cooperative

By Subin Varghese - P2P Foundation, May 9, 2017

Step 1. Start now

Don’t wait. That’s rule #1 for living in a world where we’re already feeling the impacts of climate change; millions of lives and livelihoods are at risk — or stand to benefit from solutions — in this and future decades. We needed a just transition of our energy economy yesterday. And while there are challenges to universal access and equitably shared benefits from clean energy, there are steps we can take today to start building projects, jobs, and improved health in local communities.

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By Delaying Chemical Safety Rule, Pruitt Endangers First Responders and Refinery Towns

By Daniel Ross - Truthout, May 18, 2017

At 8:48 a.m. on the morning of February 18, 2015, an explosion at the ExxonMobil Torrance refinery in Southern California ripped through the facility with such ferocity, the resulting shockwaves registered on the Richter scale. Dust was scattered over the densely populated neighborhood up to a mile away from the blast. Four workers suffered minor injuries. A hulking 40-ton chunk of debris from the refinery's Electrostatic Precipitator narrowly avoided hitting a tank containing tens of thousands of pounds of highly toxic modified hydrofluoric acid.

The damning findings of a Chemical Safety Board (CSB) review of the accident were made public earlier this month. Among some of the problems identified in the report: the refinery repeatedly violated ExxonMobil's corporate safety standards leading up to the incident, while multiple gaps existed in the refinery's safety systems.

"It was only sheer luck that the hydrofluoric acid tank wasn't hit," said Dr. Sally Hayati, president of the Torrance Refinery Action Alliance. If it had been hit, the collision could have released a toxic ground-hugging cloud with the potential to kill for nine miles and cause serious and irreversible injuries for up to 16 miles under worst-case scenario projections, she added.

"This is yet another symptom of how in our country we always put profit ahead of safety," Hayati said.

Just before Obama exited office, his Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) put in place a new federal rule setting tougher safety procedures at facilities covered by the EPA's Risk Management Program (RMP). The rule is designed to prevent accidents like the 2015 Torrance refinery explosion from happening again, and to better protect first-responders and the communities perched in the shadow of facilities that store and use potentially dangerous chemicals.

According to EPA data, over 1,500 accidents were reported by RMP facilities between 2004 and 2013, causing more than $2 billion in property damages.

The new rule was supposed to come into effect in March. But after a petition opposing the rule was filed by a coalition of trade associations, the EPA initially stayed its implementation for three months. Then, after various states and companies in the refining, oil and gas, chemical and manufacturing sector filed further petitions, the EPA proposed to extend the stay an additional 20 months -- until February 19, 2019 -- in order to win time to consider these various petitions, and to possibly "revise" the RMP amendments.

Fearing that the EPA under Scott Pruitt will take the side of industry and further delay, weaken or even try to abrogate the new rule entirely, a coalition of community groups, scientists and environmental organizations filed a motion to intervene in the lawsuit last month.

"We don't expect Pruitt to defend [the rule]," said Gordon Sommers, associate attorney with Earthjustice, who filed the motion on behalf of the coalition. In a letter to the EPA last year when still Oklahoma attorney general, Pruitt asked the agency to withdraw the rule, citing national security concerns.

"We know where he stands and we know that his arguments are the same arguments that the big industries are making," said Sommers. "We know his priority is not protecting these communities."

Toward a climate insurgency

By Jay O'Hara - Waging Nonviolence, May 16, 2017

To the outward eye, the climate movement looks to be back on its heels, reeling from the ascendancy of a fossil fuel regime, the completion of the Dakota Access Pipeline, the zombie Keystone XL and the threatened departure of the United States from the Paris Climate Accord. And there’s not much I can offer, as a climate organizer, to dissuade one from that opinion. The one major effort thus far was a massive march on Washington, D.C. that was planned when most expected Hillary Clinton to be in the White House. So we’re left wondering: What the hell are we supposed to do now?

Into this breach steps Jeremy Brecher’s slim new volume “Against Doom: A Climate Insurgency Manual.” Neither glitzy, eloquent nor subtle, Brecher methodically lays out an interlocking vision of direct action within a constitutional legal framework to build the powerful nonviolent climate insurgency necessary to turn the ship around. “Against Doom” smartly connects disparate threads of the existing climate movement and pulls them together with strategic vision. I finished the book fired up with a clearer sense of where my own work with the Climate Disobedience Center, as well as my Quaker faith community, fits into an unfolding climate insurgency. And I’m ready to get back to the pipeline valves, coal piles, construction sites, boardrooms and courtrooms where we have the opportunity to stem the tide of climate cataclysm.

Brecher puts all this in perspective right up front: Before Trump, the Paris agreements represented merely “the illusion that world leaders were fixing climate change” — with ineffectual emissions reduction targets of only 2 degrees Celsius (non-binding) and 1.5 degrees (aspirational). As such, Trump is only a refreshingly honest manifestation of the movement’s failure to muster sufficient power to achieve its ultimate aims. The illusion of the efficacy of an inside politics game somehow survived the failure of cap-and-trade among the major environmental groups, and those groups refocused on the Obama administration’s potential for executive action. At the same time, the national fight against Keystone XL and grassroots resistance by frontline communities across the country and globe have laid the groundwork for a strategy of insurgency.

How We're Surviving Right to Work: Oil Refinery Workers Get People in Motion

By Alexandra Bradbury - Labor Notes, May 16, 2017

The key is collective action, says Steelworkers Local 675 Secretary-Treasurer Dave Campbell. His union represents 4,000 workers in California and Nevada, many of them at oil refineries where workers get a window of opportunity to drop their membership each time the contract comes up for renegotiation. In each refinery of 300-600 workers, the union maintains around 90 percent membership.

That's because members have the habit of acting for themselves as a union on the shop floor. Union leaders encourage members to bolster a grievance with workplace action. For instance, a supervisor had forbidden people to wear baseball caps, sunglasses, or Hawaiian shirts in the control room. Workers collected signatures on a petition and presented it to the other supervisor, who crumpled it up and threw it away.

“We organized all four crews to show up for work with Hawaiian shirts, sunglasses, and ball caps,” Campbell says, “and the union bought the roast pig for a Hawaiian luau lunch. When the superintendent saw all the workers united, he of course asked what the hell was going on—and the supervisor who had caused all this was reassigned.”

Besides being fun and effective, these activities give workers the chance to learn by doing. “In essence they see what the union really is,” Campbell says. “The union is them, and it’s their concerted, collective activity on the shop floor which gives the union power.”

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.

Oil industry power is slithering away

By Paul Brown - Climate News Network, May 13, 2017

Big oil is getting smaller. Many of the oil services companies that are employed when new fields are being developed have been laying off workers, and oil companies have been writing down their assets.

The problem is the persistent low price of oil. Despite the best efforts of OPEC − the organisation representing the developing world’s oil producing countries − to limit production and put a squeeze on supplies, oil prices have risen only slightly.

This has put many potential fields in the category of being too expensive to exploit − particularly in the case of the tar sands of Canada, and in the Arctic and difficult-to-reach offshore locations.

One of the areas where small fluctuations in the price of oil make a big difference is in the expansion of the fracking industry in North America, which led to the glut of oil on the world market.

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