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Art Francisco, carpenters rank and file strike leader, speaks in Seattle

Nina Wurz, striking Seattle carpenter speaks at Kshama Sawsnt rally

Seattle Labor Unions Join Call Saying “Shell No”

By Tom Geiger - Labor Network for Sustainability, June 11, 2015

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.

In a strong show of support for a better future, local labor unions have signed a letter to oppose the decision by the Port of Seattle Commission to permit the Shell Oil rig to have safe harbor in our Elliott Bay.

We recognize that other labor unions have a position of support for this Oil Rig here. We respect their decision, but we feel compelled to speak today given the stakes of climate change and the immediate and long term effects that this has on all people in the US and around the world. Shell brought this Rig to our shores; this has catapulted us to the frontlines of climate change and called to question the policies we make as a society to address the global crisis. Would we be taking this position at this moment without this Rig here in our local waters? Probably not. But we would be taking a position soon on Climate Change anyway and this has simply fast-forwarded that historic necessity.

Below is the statement and the list of labor organizations signed onto it:

Unions Say Shell No! 



The following labor unions, which represent over 60,000 workers in various industries across Washington State, declare our opposition to Royal Dutch Shell’s drilling in our Arctic waters and the use of our Port of Seattle’s Terminal 5 as their staging site. We stand alongside the many environmental, faith, social justice and retiree organizations, indigenous peoples and the thousands of individuals who oppose the drilling. We hope that adding our voice encourages others to join the Shell No! Movement. At the same time we declare our support for a strong climate policy at the state, regional and national level to reduce our global warming pollution and ensure that as we reduce this pollution we do so with equitable transition at its core.

Consultation and Accommodation: Turning the Tide on Bomb Trains

By Stephyn Quirke - Earth First! Newswire, June 15, 2015

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.

Two months ago I reported on the plan to build propane export facilities at the Port of Portland. This report investigated bomb trains and the blast zone around the proposed terminal, dug into Pembina’s operations in Canada, and reported on their heavy participation in both tar sands extraction and fracking in Western Canada.

Much has happened since this last report. On April 7th the Swinomish tribe in Washington filed a lawsuit against BNSF oil trains. On April 9th Portland’s Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) voted in favor of Pembina’s pipeline, raising howls of opposition from the crowd. On May 6th the Tories of Alberta were unseated after 44 years of rule – kicked out by a wave of opposition to the fossil fuel industry that finally crashed along with oil prices, with the socialist New Democratic Party now in charge promising to implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. On May 7th Mayor Hales cleaned up the PSC’s mess and dropped his support for Pembina. On May 16th, thousands of activists showed up in Seattle to obstruct Shell’s Arctic drilling fleet, including hundreds of “kayactivists” on the water, who took leadership from Alaskan and Puget Sound tribes fighting coal and oil companies. On May 19th, an oil pipeline ruptured on the California coast, spilling over 100,000 gallons of oil and creating a 9 mile ocean slick. And on June 4th the Coast Salish Nation, representing dozens of powerful tribes in the region, announced a unanimous agreement to protect the Salish Sea from crude oil shipments by rail, pipe, and sea.

Following these successful calls for solidarity from First Nations, the Unitarian Universalist Church in Portland is asking people to bear witness to tribal struggles to protect sacred land – particularly the Lummi Nation in Washington’s Puget Sound, who are currently fighting the largest coal export terminal in the country.

On June 27th, members of the Lummi Nation will join the Unitarian Universalist’s annual General Assembly to discuss how the public can address climate change by centering indigenous struggles. The event organizers say their intent is to create stronger alliances across environmental and faith groups, and send a strong message of solidarity to indigenous nations in the fight against fossil fuels and other extractive industries. Their event begins at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland at 4:45 pm, and is both free and open to the public.

Seattle Activists Mount Tripod: Stop Exploding Oil Trains

By Rising Tide Cascadia - Rising Tide North America, September 2, 2014

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.

UPDATE 3:32pm PDT: Abby has been extracted after an epic 8 hour blockade. Donate to get all five awesome climate defenders out of jail!

Five residents of Seattle and Everett, WA, working with Rising Tide Seattle, have stopped work at a Burlington Northern Santa-Fe Rail Yard in Everett by erecting a tripod-structure on the outbound railroad tracks, directly in front of a mile-long oil train. Follow Rising Tide Seattle for live updates on Facebook and Twitter.

Seattle resident Abby Brockway – a small business owner, and mother – is suspended from the structure 18 feet above the tracks while four other residents are locked to the legs the tripod. The group is demanding an immediate halt to all shipments of fossil fuels through the Northwest and calling on Governor Inslee to reject permits for all new fossil fuel projects in Washington, including proposed coal and oil terminals.

Donate to support Abby and the other involved in the action!

“People in the Pacific Northwest are forming a thin green line that will keep oil, coal and gas in the ground,” said Brockway, “Just one of these proposed terminals would process enough carbon to push us past the global warming tipping point – we won’t let that happen.”

Today’s protest has shut down work at BNSF’s Delta Rail Yard in Everett. With the increase of fossil fuel transport in recent years the yard has become a crucial staging ground for coal trains headed to Canadian export terminals and oil trains bound for Washington refineries. An oil-train carrying explosive bakken crude oil sat stalled while the protest continued.

“Exploding oil-trains running through my town are just a reminder of how out of control the fossil fuel industry really is,” said Jackie Minchew an Everett resident and retired educator locked to one of the tripod’s poles.

In a controversial move, Burlington Northern Santa-Fe recently announced a tentative deal with Union leaders to reduce train crews from an engineer and conductor to a single engineer. The oil train that de-railed and exploded in Lac-Megantic, Quebec was crewed by a single engineer. BNSF claims that oil-trains will continue to have two person crews, but critics point out that nothing in the proposed contract binds the company to that statement. Under the proposed deal Coal Trains would be operated by a single crew-member.

“BNSF is endangering workers, communities and our environment. They should keep the conductors and lose the oil trains,” said Brockway.

The surge in oil-train traffic is already impacting other commodities like passenger rail and agricultural shipments. Farmers from the Midwest to Washington State have faced what they call “unprecedented” delays in moving Wheat and other products to West Coast ports. Amtrak service through fossil-fuel train corridors has also suffered significant disruption and officials have expressed concern that the problem will only get worse as more terminals come online.

Seattle Activists Blocking Oil Trains Include City Council Member

By Jay Burney - Climate Connections, August 6, 2014

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.

Rising Tide Portland blogger Mike M posted that five protestors including  Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant, and a candidate for the State House of Representatives Jess Spear, occupied railroad tracks in order to call attention to the proliferation of oil trains also known as “bomb trains” running through the streets of Seattle and throughout the Northwest. The protest took place at tracks along the Seattle waterfront near the Olympic Sculpture Park. Four were arrested, but not Sawant.

The protest was launched in part as a reaction to a July 24 derailment of a 100 car train carrying Bakken Oil.

Spear is quoted in the Rising Tide blog as saying:

“These oil trains running right through the downtown area pose a huge risk to life and to the environment. Luckily, last week’s derailment did not spill any oil; but we cannot rely on luck. We cannot stand idly by while these bombs on wheels roll through Seattle”.

Ms Sawant was quoted in another Seattle publication, The Stranger,  as saying that she is

“in solidarity with the three activists who have the courage of their convictions. It’s an enormous sacrifice to be arrested to raise awareness… I’m also here as someone who is on the city council and who takes the task of governance seriously. This is a matter of emergency that needs to be addressed”.

In a prepared statement read before the protest Ms. Sawant told those assembled:

One year ago, a similar train derailed and destroyed half the downtown area in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, and led to 42 deaths. The fact that these train tracks run right by the stadiums, and through Belltown, where tens of thousands of people regularly gather, mean that there is potential for major catastrophe.

The Fine Print I:

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