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California Court DEMANDS UAW Stop Strike at UC

Deadly Heat: Record Scorching Temperatures Kill the Vulnerable, Worsen Inequality Across the Globe

UAW 4811 STRIKE Against UC Anti-Palestine Repression

Will offshore wind be good for Humboldt County, California?

Updates from California Labor for Climate Jobs

By Veronica Wilson - Labor Network for Sustainability, April 30, 2024

On May 8, 2024, California Labor for Climate Jobs (CLCJ) will rally for a Day of Action at the California state capitol. As legislators head into final days of committee hearings and Governor Gavin Newsom prepares to announce his 2024-2025 State Budget revisions, CLCJ will turn up the volume to voice their pro-worker and pro-climate demands. Now with 15 unions on board, the coalition already has some wins like EV manufacturing block grant programs in the state to prioritize high road employers to enhance labor standards, community benefits and labor peace agreements.

Adding to that momentum, the coalition’s manufacturing, home care, service, education, food and commercial, and public employees unions will link arms to call for climate resilient schools, Cal OSHA staffing, indoor and outdoor heat protections for workers, and more. Track #workerledtransition and #labormustleadonclimate and please help amplify the worker-led transition to a climate-safe economy. You can follow these and more on CLCJ social media, including CLCJ Instagram, CLCJ Facebook, and CLCJ Twitter/X.

In a Clean Energy Future, What Happens to California’s Thousands of Oil Refinery Workers?

By Danielle Riedl and Devashree Saha - World Resources Institute, April 23, 2024

California is often considered the United States’ greenest state — a first-mover on climate policy, renewable energy, electric vehicles and more. But at the same time, the state is still a fossil-fuel production powerhouse.

This is especially true for its petroleum refineries, which turn crude oil into transportation fuels (like gasoline) and feedstocks for making chemicals. Despite declining oil production in the state, California still has the third-largest crude oil refining capacity in the country, just after Texas and Louisiana. About 83% of its refined petroleum is used for transportation, a sector that produces half of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions. California is also the country’s largest consumer of jet fuel and second-largest user of motor gasoline, fuels that are processed and refined at petroleum refineries.

At the same time, California has a legal requirement to cut 85% of its emissions by 2045. Phasing down petroleum refineries, along with petroleum-based transportation fuels, are crucial steps in meeting that goal. Which begs the question: What happens to the thousands of workers, families and communities who rely on the state’s oil refineries for jobs and tax revenues?

While California is developing a detailed roadmap on how it will reduce its emissions, it doesn’t yet include a plan for addressing the impact of refinery closures — specifically, loss of jobs, incomes and the critical tax revenues that support communities’ schools, healthcare systems and more. California therefore has an opportunity to not only lead on phasing down America’s refineries, but to also make the transition a just one.

California delays vote on critical indoor workplace heat safety standard

By Alexandra Martinez - Prism, April 4, 2024

Amid mounting concerns over the safety of California’s workforce, a critical vote on a bill to protect workers from extreme indoor temperatures narrowly passed the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (Cal/OSHA), but the bill still requires approval from a skeptical governmental agency, leaving workers vulnerable. The decision has ignited anger among labor groups statewide that argue the state’s inaction is putting lives at risk.

On March 21, in a hearing room packed with people wearing stickers proclaiming, “Heat Kills,” a diverse coalition of laundry workers, farmworkers, janitors, steelworkers, fast food workers, stagehand technicians, construction laborers, and shipyard workers gathered to voice their dismay at the cancellation of the crucial vote on the Indoor Heat Illness Prevention Standard. The state’s Office of Administrative Law will need the Department of Finance’s approval before it can move forward with the regulations, but the office is not immediately certain about the time frame for the next steps.

“Our coalition of unions and worker advocates have been pushing Cal/OSHA to do its job and approve regulations that finally protect workers from extreme indoor heat,” said Lorena Gonzalez, Chief Officer of the California Labor Federation, which represents 1,300 unions and 2.3 million union members. “It’s outrageous that after years of advocacy … we learned that it was pulled from the agenda with no prior notice or explanation.” 

The standard would have protected millions of workers in warehouses and other indoor facilities, but Gov. Gavin Newsom objected to the program’s costs. The Department of Finance intervened over concerns about costs to correctional facilities and other state entities, but Cal/OSHA moved forward and voted unanimously to adopt the standards. The rules are now in limbo. 

The Green New Deal: From Below or from Above?

Winning Fossil Fuel Workers Over to a Just Transition

By Norman Rogers - Jacobin, March 18, 2024

This article is adapted from Power Lines: Building a Labor-Climate Justice Movement, edited by Jeff Ordower and Lindsay Zafir (The New Press, 2024).

I have a dream. I have a nightmare.

The dream is that working people find careers with good pay, good benefits, and a platform for addressing grievances with their employers. In other words, I dream that everyone gets what I got over twenty-plus years as a unionized worker in the oil industry.

The nightmare is that people who had jobs with good pay and power in the workplace watch those gains erode as the oil industry follows the lead of steel, auto, and coal mining to close plants and lay off workers. It is a nightmare rooted in witnessing the cruelties suffered by our siblings in these industries — all of whom had good-paying jobs with benefits and the apparatus to process grievances when their jobs went away.

Workers, their families, and their communities were destroyed when the manufacturing plants and coal mines shut down, with effects that linger to this day. Without worker input, I fear that communities dependent on the fossil fuel industry face a similar fate.

This nightmare is becoming a reality as refineries in Wyoming, Texas, Louisiana, California, and New Mexico have closed or have announced pending closures. Some facilities are doing the environmentally conscious thing and moving to renewable fuels. Laudable as that transition is, a much smaller workforce is needed for these processes. For many oil workers, the choice is to keep working, emissions be damned, or to save the planet and starve.

United Steelworkers (USW) Local 675 — a four-thousand-member local in Southern California, of which I am the second vice president — is helping to chart a different course, one in which our rank-and-file membership embraces a just transition and in which we take the urgent steps needed to protect both workers and the planet. Along with other California USW locals, we are fighting to ensure that the dream — not the nightmare — is the future for fossil fuel workers as we transition to renewable energy.

A California Strategy for a Just Transition to Renewable Energy

By Veronica Wilson - Labor Network for Sustainability, March 1, 2024

Workers in California have allied with environmental, environmental justice, and community groups to move the state closer to a just transition to renewable energy. 

California has a strong movement for Community Choice Aggregation (CCA), which allows municipalities to bargain with electricity suppliers over both price and environmental responsibility. Nine Community Choice Aggregators are united in a joint power procurement agency called California Community Power. 

California’s Workforce and Environmental Justice Alliance has been pushing California Community Power to establish policies to protect workers in the transition to climate-safe energy. In a recent win, Ava Energy in the East Bay adopted these policies – the fourth member of California Community Power to do so. According to Andreas Cluver, Building Trades Council of Alameda County:

Any approach to climate action must also factor in the sustainability of our workforce. By passing this package of policies, Ava Community Energy uplifts local workers while fulfilling its obligation towards responsible environmental stewardship. We look forward to partnering with Ava on these important community projects. 

This marks a pivotal moment for workers and communities as the region looks to ramp up investments in green technology and decarbonization. Ava’s new policies underscore the positive impact CCAs can have on labor standards, environmental stewardship, and community well-being.

Learn more about the Alliance’s impactful work: 


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