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EcoWobbles - EcoUnionist News #141

Compiled by x344543 - IWW Environmental Unionism Caucus, February 25, 2017

News of interest to green unionists:

Actions To Stop The Atlantic Coast Pipeline - By staff, Popular Resistance, February 18, 2017 - This proposed pipeline will also not mean long term jobs for the area as it would likely only provide at most 18 permanent jobs once the pipeline is built (which would be completed in a matter of months once it began). Renewable energy sources would in fact bring thousands of good paying jobs to North Carolinians if our legislators would stop selling us all out to big oil and take care of our futures.

ALEC Embraces Trumpism - By Mary Bottari, PR Watch, February 14, 2017 - On January 24, President Trump signed an executive order reviving the Keystone and Dakota Access Pipelines. The order invites "TransCanada Keystone Pipeline, L.P. (TransCanada), to promptly re-submit its application to the Department of State for a Presidential permit for the construction and operation of the Keystone XL Pipeline" and directs the State Department to "take all actions necessary and appropriate to facilitate its expeditious review." It also reiterates that the pipeline company may, "secure access from an owner of private property to construct the pipeline and cross-border facilities described herein." Trump touts enormous jobs numbers like 28,000 but the reality is that very few permanent jobs are created from these projects. KXL for instance would create 35 permanent jobs, according to State Department estimates. On cue, ALEC cheered Trump's executive order on the pipelines.

Australian Energy “Political Circus” Could Cost Jobs & Energy Security, According To CEC - By Joshua S Hill, Clean Technica, February 20, 2017 - The Clean Energy Council itself also reported earlier this month that 2017 is lining up to be a “huge year” for renewable energy technology development, with up to 2,250 megawatts worth of new development in various stages of construction and development. This development is also likely to result in up to $5.1 billion in investments, and 3,000 direct jobs from 2017 construction projects alone.

BHP has lost 41,000 tonnes of copper due to strike at Escondida - By Cecilia Jamasmie, Mining.Com, February 22, 2017 - World’s largest miner BHP Billiton (ASX, NYSE:BHP) (LON:BLT) has already lost 41,000 tonnes of copper production due to an ongoing strike at its Econdida mine in Chile, the world’s largest.

Big utilities try to tilt solar energy market in their favor - By Brian Slodysko, Associated Press, February 11, 2017 - The measure comes as investor-owned utilities across the U.S. also are looking to take advantage of plunging costs for sun-generated power and carve out a share of the market. And critics say the bill amounts to utilities muscling out small companies, threatening the 1,500 jobs the Solar Foundation estimated in 2015 the industry had created in Indiana.

California Senate leader's new bill: 100% clean energy - By Sammy Roth, Desert Sun, February 20, 2017 - The state's sprawling deserts have been an epicenter of renewable energy growth, with several huge solar farms opening in eastern Riverside County, near the Coachella Valley. The solar industry has become an economic force here, creating 100,000 jobs in California and 260,000 jobs nationally by late 2016, according to an industry-backed nonprofit.

Clash Over the Bayou Bridge Pipeline Ratchets up After Louisiana Pipeline Explosion - By Julie Dermansky, DeSmog Blog, February 14, 2017 - Five days earlier, a Phillips 66 natural gas pipeline in Paradis, Louisiana, exploded, presumably killing one worker and injuring two. The explosion occurred one night after the Louisiana’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) held a public permit hearing for the Bayou Bridge oil pipeline at a community center in Napoleonville, Louisiana.

The Deadly Reality of Construction Work - By Michael Arria, In These Times, February 17, 2017 - Construction worker deaths are rising in New York and Latinos are especially at risk.

Despite what Trump says “People have left the industry, and they’re not coming back” - By Andy Rowell, Oil Change International, February 20, 2017 - Since the oil price collapsed, some 440,000 oil industry jobs worldwide have been lost. Of those, the oil industry consultants, Graves, estimates that 40 per cent have been in the United States; 28 percent in the UK and 10 per cent in Canada. Some 100,000 oil jobs were lost in the capaital of the oil industry itself, Texas.

Drilling experts explain why Trump can’t bring back oilfield jobs - By Joe Romm, Think Progress, February 22, 2017 - Industry experts have some news for the president: Because of automation, a lot of the jobs lost in oil drilling aren’t coming back. And more are going to be lost.

Forest Carbon Tax and Reward: Creating more jobs and carbon in the woods - By John Talberth, Sustainable Economy, February 16, 2017 - A typical multiplier for money spent in the woods paying workers to restore timber plantations back to real forests and implement other climate smart practices is about 60 direct and induced jobs per million dollars invested. That’s 6,000 jobs per year associated with FCIF payments of about $100 million per year. Not a bad deal for skilled forest workers. And a welcome shot in the arm for distressed rural communities searching for ways to decouple from the booms and busts of industrial, high emissions logging cycles.

Iron & Earth: Oil Sands Workers Ready For Renewable Energy Shift - By Lauren Tyler, North American Wind Power, February 14, 2017 - Realizing that his co-workers shared the same concerns, Hildebrand conceived Iron & Earth, a national initiative to retrain tradespeople working in the fossil fuel industry to transition into the renewables sector.

Is Berta Cáceres' Assassination a Tipping Point for Change in Honduras? - By Gloria Jiménez, Truthout, February 21, 2017 - "We are not satisfied because they have only captured those that executed her. The intellectual authors -- those who ordered it, those who paid for it -- are enjoying complete impunity," said Austra Flores, mother of slain Honduran activist Berta Cáceres, from her home in La Esperanza, before the latest arrest of a suspected hitman.

Is the oil industry dying? - By Jason Lavis, OilPro, January 2017 - The current downturn, 30 months in, has caused many of us to question whether the oil industry is dying. The number of oil and gas jobs lost during this downturn is estimated to be between 300,000 - 400,000 worldwide. At the same time the industry faces existential threats from environmentalists, alternative energy and electric cars.

Like Keystone XL, Much of Dakota Access Pipeline Steel Made by Russian Company Tied to Putin - By Steve Horn, DeSmog Blog, February 19, 2017 - “American workers need jobs,” Jeremy Brecher, co-founder of the Labor Network for Sustainability, told DeSmog. “It is unconscionable that fossil fuel companies and Donald Trump exploit that need by making phony claims to be creating jobs — all to persuade us to support projects that will poison our air and water and make our planet unlivable for our kids. It's time to get serious about creating jobs that protect our environment rather than destroying it.”

More Than 3 Million in US Now Work in Clean Energy - By staff, Renewable Energy World, February 22, 2017 - On Wednesday, February 22, national business groups representing the range and breadth of clean energy companies in the United States cheered government statistics showing their industries support more than 3 million American jobs – equal to the employment of retail stores across the country, and twice as many jobs as involved in construction of buildings. This is based on 2016 data recently released by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in its second annual U.S. Energy and Employment Report.

EcoWobbles - EcoUnionist News #140

Compiled by x344543 - IWW Environmental Unionism Caucus, February 19, 2017

News of interest to green unionists:

Bipartisan Group of Governors to President Trump: Renewable Energy Is an ‘American Success Story’ - By Stephen Lacey, Greentech Media, February 14, 2017 - When it comes to creating jobs and innovating in the energy sector, President Trump doesn't have to try very hard to make America great again. Because renewable energy is already making it great, says a bipartisan group of governors. They can see it firsthand in their states.

BNEF: US economy 'decoupled' from energy demand as renewables rise, emissions fall - By Robert Walton, Utility Dive, February 9, 2017 - Major shifts in the United States energy sector, including a long-term push towards decarbonization, are helping to grow the country's economy while creating high-paying jobs, according to new analysis.

California’s Climate Policies Bring Good Jobs to the San Joaquin Valley - By Betony Jones, UC Labor Center, February 6, 2017 - Even after accounting for as many of the costs as was possible, the state’s climate policies and programs have had a positive impact on the region’s employment and economy.

California Farmers Backed Trump, but Now Fear Losing Field Workers - By Caitlin Dickerson and Jennifer Medina, New York Times, February 10, 2017 - As for his promises about cracking down on illegal immigrants, many assumed Mr. Trump’s pledges were mostly just talk. But two weeks into his administration, Mr. Trump has signed executive orders that have upended the country’s immigration laws. Now farmers here are deeply alarmed about what the new policies could mean for their workers, most of whom are unauthorized, and the businesses that depend on them.

Chemical Plant Boom Spurred by Fracking Will Bring Smog, Plastic Glut, and Risks to Workers' Health, New Report Warns - By Sharon Kelly, DeSmog Blog, February 14, 2017 - On the heels of the shale gas rush that's swept the U.S. for the past decade, another wave of fossil fuel-based projects is coming — a plastic and petrochemical manufacturing rush that environmentalists warn could make smog worse in communities already breathing air pollution from fracking, sicken workers, and expand the plastic trash gyres in the world's oceans.

Cherokee Nation Files, is Granted Emergency Restraining Order, Halting Disposal of Radioactive Waste near the Arkansas & Illinois Rivers - By staff, Native News Online, February 10, 2017 - Sequoyah Fuels Corporation was opened by Kerr-McGee in 1970 to convert yellowcake uranium into uranium hexafluoride, a compound that produces fuel for nuclear reactors. The company switched hands several times over the years before closing in 1993 after several releases of hazardous chemicals. In January 1986, one worker was killed and dozens more were injured after a cylinder of uranium hexafluoride ruptured. It has since been in the decommissioning process, under the authority of the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

CTA Port-A-Potties Are So Dirty Some Bus Drivers Wear Diapers, Union Says - By Mina Bloom, DNA Info, February 7, 2017 - CTA bus workers are taking a stand against the portable bathrooms they're forced to use on the job, which they describe as "unsanitary, unsafe and degrading."

Chile Escondida BHP copper mine workers gird for long battle - By staff, Reuters, February 9, 2017 - Workers gearing up for what could be a prolonged strike at the world's leading copper mine, BHP Billiton's Escondida, are stockpiling rations and supplies to survive the searing sun and bone-chilling nights of Chile's northern high-desert.

Condemnation of the murder of Suleiman Hammad, Palestinian farmer - By staff, La Via Campesina, February 13, 2017 - La Vía Campesina strongly condemns the brutal and intentional murder of our comrade Suleiman Hammad, an 85-year-old Palestinian farmer who on February 8th, 2017 was run over by an Israeli settler, while walking to work on his land near Al-Khader Village, south of Bethlehem.

Consumer, Environmental and Workers Groups File Legal Challenge to Trump’s ‘One-In, Two-Out’ Executive Order on Regulations - By staff, Earth Justice, February 8, 2017 - Public Citizen, NRDC and Communications Workers of America represented by Earthjustice seek injunction barring agencies from following order.

Dakota Access Pipeline Opponents Call on CalPERS to Divest - By Darwin BondGraham, East Bay Express, February 13, 2017 - Today in Sacramento, more than one hundred people crowded into the board meeting of the nation's largest public pension fund calling for divestment from the companies building the DAPL.

Dakota Access pipeline protesters urge CalPERS divestment - By Adam Ashton, Sacramento Bee, February 13, 2017 - Activists are packing today’s CalPERS Board of administration meeting, urging the retirement fund to divest from the controversial Dakota Access pipeline.

End coal by 2030 to meet Paris climate goal, EU told - By Megan Darby, Climate Change News, February 9, 2017 - Alison Tate, climate expert at the International Trade Union Confederation, told Climate Home governments needed to help communities through the transition. “Workers want to have a sense of hope and they want to have jobs on a living planet,” said Tate, who is speaking at the report launch on Thursday. “Unions are really serious about ensuring there are decent work opportunities in sectors that will help to reduce carbon emissions.”

Encouraging signs of change in EU occupational safety and health policy - By staff, European Trade Union Institute, February 10, 2017 - On 10 January this year, the European Commission adopted a communication on the future of EU legislation and policy on occupational safety and health (OSH). ETUI researchers have studied the text and have identified positive signs of a shift in policy in favour of workers, particularly with respect to exposure to chemical risks. The Commission’s proposals regarding a number of problems associated with the organisation of work, however, such as musculoskeletal disorders, remain distinctly unambitious.

Energy experts give Trump the hard truth: You can’t bring coal back - By Joe Romm, Think Progress, February 10, 2017 - Trump won’t be bringing back the domestic coal industry. And even if he could, he can’t bring back the jobs because it’s the coal industry itself that wiped out most of those jobs through productivity gains from “strip mines and machinery,” as Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman explained in 2014.

Environmental Justice Groups Show How to Organize in the Age of Trump - By Jeremy Deaton, Nexus Media, February 3, 2017 - Environmental justice groups operate at the intersection of progressive issues, where liberal constituencies find common cause. Organizers don’t talk about the environment or climate as discrete issues. Rather, they link climate to jobs, health and social justice. They advocate for a just economy, where everyone has the right to be safe and healthy, and everyone has the chance to get ahead. And they work at the grassroots level.

Federal Employee Free Speech Tied in Knots - By Kirsten Stade, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, February 13, 2017 - Federal employees concerned about Trump White House actions face legal constraints on their freedom to protest, according to ethics warnings posted today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). Some restrictions are clear but others are subject to interpretation.

Food Sovereignty within a new Agricultural Policy - By staff, La Via Campesina, February 9, 2017 - Food Sovereignty remains a highly subversive concept. It’s essential in countering destructive trade and agricultural policies in a globalised economy. Food sovereignty must be at the core of a large overarching food policy, one which will promote, support and develop sustainable food and farming systems that respect human rights and the environment.

Former Transcanada Engineer Warning to Residents South of the Border — Don’t Trust Transcanada - By staff, Corporate Crime Reporter, February 9, 2017 - Evan Vokes worked as an engineer for TransCanada for five years — from 2007 to 2012. And right from the beginning, it was clear to Vokes that the company had a hole in its pipeline compliance program.

Guerrilla archivists developed an app to save science data from the Trump administration - By Zoë Schlanger, Quartz Media, February 9, 2017 - On the first Saturday morning in February, scientists, programmers, professors and digital librarians met at New York University in New York City to save federal data sets they thought could be altered or disappear all together under the administration of US president Donald Trump. Around 150 people turned out for the gathering, many after hearing about it through Facebook.

EcoWobbles - EcoUnionist News #139

Compiled by x344543 - IWW Environmental Unionism Caucus, February 11, 2017

News of interest to green unionists:

After String of Defeats, Workers Win Union at Baltimore Gas & Electric - By Bruce Vail, In These Times, February 2, 2017 - Baltimore-area workers opened the Trump era by voting in favor of a labor union at the largest utility company in the metro region. The election victory at Baltimore Gas & Electric Co. (BGE) will bring more than 1,400 new members into the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW).

America’s Construction Carnage - By Sam Pizzigati, Other Words, February 1, 2017 - As unions decline, construction workers are dying at alarming rates.

Appalachia Can’t Shift From Coal To Clean Easily - By Michael Barnard, Clean Technica, February 7, 2017 - To single coal out, there were about 785,000 people employed in the coal industry in the USA in 1910 when Appalachia dominated that industry. Now, there are about 80,000 and many of those jobs are in the west in new coal basins. Fewer than 60,000 people of the 25 million in the region still work in the coal industry. Appalachia’s coal industry employment has been in decline for decades because of automation and shifting demand.

Billion-dollar Alberta coal company goes bankrupt - By Andrew Topf, Mining.Com, February 7, 2017 - About 220 employees lost their jobs in 2015 when the mine shut down, a victim of low met-coal prices.

The Building Trades’ Faustian Bargain - By Harold Meyerson, The American Prospect, February 2, 2017 - The construction union leaders who met with Donald Trump hope he’ll create jobs for their members. They must also hope he won’t deport their members because they’re immigrants.

California Coalition Urges Trump to Prioritize Workers and Environmental Health with NAFTA Renegotiation - By Aaron Lehmer-Chang, California Trade Justice Coalition, January 24, 2017 - As President Trump moves to formally withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and commence renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the California Trade Justice Coalition is calling on his administration to commit to an open, public process that yields broadly shared economic benefits for working families in Canada, Mexico, and the United States while improving environmental health.

Climate ignored as Exxon Mobil takes earnings hit - By Megan Darby, Climate Change News, February 2, 2017 - US supermajor’s profits have halved since last year, on a $2bn write-down of gas assets, but executives still don’t mention climate risk.

EPA Workers to Trump: We Don’t Want Scott Pruitt as Our New Boss - By Nida Bajwa, In These Times, February 7, 2017 - The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) Local 704, the union representing the EPA’s Chicago workers, organized the protest to oppose Pruitt’s confirmation and to pressure senators to vote against him. Speakers at the event included stewards and members of AFGE, state and city government officials and activists from non-profit environmental organizations.

Famine looms as millions go hungry in East Africa - By UN Food and Agriculture Organization, Climate and Capitalism, February 5, 2017 - Failed harvests, disease, deteriorating water and pasture conditions, and animal deaths mean 12 million need food aid now, and the situation is fast deteriorating.

Federal Disobedience: Why We Must Support Federal Worker Noncooperation - By Adriana Calvarezi, Truthout, February 1, 2017 - These and other federal employee acts of noncooperation and defiance are just a taste of what's to come over the next four years as federal employees face administration and GOP demands that they act against both "our constitutional values" and the very purposes of the agencies for which they labor.

Huge Win for Renewables in Maryland as Lawmakers Override Governor's Veto - By Stefanie Spear, EcoWatch, February 5, 2017 - Lawmakers in the Maryland Senate voted 32-13 Thursday to expand the state's renewable energy target restoring the Clean Energy Jobs Act and overriding Republican Gov. Larry Hogan's veto of the measure in May of last year. The bill is now in effect.

Jobs in Texas’ solar industry on the rise - By Ryan Handy, FuelFix, February 8, 2017 - Texas has the third largest number of solar jobs in the nation, and the employment in the state’s solar industry grew by 34 percent in 2016, according to the 2016  National Solar Jobs Census released on Tuesday.

Keeping out Mexican immigrants won’t help U.S. workers - By Bryce Covert, Think Progress, February 6, 2017 - The U.S. once tried to shut out immigrants to increase jobs and wages, but it failed at both goals.

Labor Leaders’ Cheap Deal With Trump - By Naomi Klein, New York Times, February 7, 2017 - The edifice that Mr. Trump is building is rigged to collapse on the very people these unions are supposed to defend. His cuts to regulations will make them less safe on the job, and he may well wage war against the National Labor Relations Board, an agency that recently ruled that Mr. Trump violated the rights of the workers in his Las Vegas hotel to unionize and bargain collectively. His proposed cuts to corporate taxes will eviscerate the public services on which they depend, not to mention public sector union jobs. He supports “right to work” legislation that poses an existential threat to unions. His pick for labor secretary, the fast-food magnate Andrew Puzder, has a long record of failing to pay his workers properly, and he has praised the idea of replacing humans with machines.

The Labor Movement Must Learn These Lessons From the Election - An interview with Jane McAlevey by D.D. Guttenplan, The Nation, February 7, 2017 - We first spoke at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, where, amid the self-congratulation, she cautioned me that “Clinton hadn’t sealed the deal” with the white suburban women that McAlevey had met helping to organize Philadelphia-area hospitals. After her warning proved prophetic, we resumed our conversation—this time focusing on the question at the heart of her new book, No Shortcuts: Organizing for Power in the New Gilded Age.

Lonmin Cannot Wash its Hands of Marikana’s Blood - By Liam Barrington-Bush, London Mining Network, February 1, 2017 - A short film by Zoe Broughton from last week’s Lonmin AGM protest and commemoration for the 34 South African miners killed at the British company’s Marikana platinum mine in South Africa in August 2012.

Maryland Senate overrides Gov. Hogan's veto of energy bill, raising renewables goal - By Robert Walton, Utility Dive, February 3, 2017 - While the new Presidential administration has threatened to change course on climate change, including potentially exiting from the Paris climate accord, Tidwell said "states like Maryland will fight back here at home with jobs, cleaner air, and truly responsive government."

EcoWobbles - EcoUnionist News #138

Compiled by x344543 - IWW Environmental Unionism Caucus, February 3, 2017

News of interest to green unionists:

After Trump issues science gag orders, government scientists begin going rogue, plan march on D.C. - By Jen Hayden, Daily Kos, January 25, 2017 - Aside from the new rogue Twitter feed, they have begun planning a march on Washington. The latest information on the march is below, more information is available on their website. Although no official date appears to have been set, the Facebook group has collected 60,000 members virtually overnight.

As Trump Signals a Rollback on Environmental Regulations, a New Jobs Report Indicates That May Not be Such a Good Idea - By Liz Delaney, EDF, January 26, 2017 - President Trump’s regulatory freeze that halted four rules designed to promote greater energy efficiency appears to be just the first salvo in an ongoing plan to roll back environmental protections and slash environmental budgets. While that is obviously foolish from an environmental perspective, it is also problematic from an economic/job creation standpoint.

Birth of an American Human Rights Movement? - By staff, Coalition of Immokalee Workers, January 26th, 2017 - CIW members join 4.8 million women, men and children in marches across the country — and around the globe — in resounding support of human rights for all!

Byrd Amendments Update: Senate Republicans Introduce Bill Protecting Black Lung Improvements & Analysis of Executive Order 13,765 Concerning the Affordable Care Act - By Evan B. Smith, Devil in the Dust, January 26, 2017 - The uncertainty around the future of the black lung improvements that are contained within the Affordable Care Act continues.

Congress moves to give away national lands, discounting billions in revenue - By Heather Hansman, The Guardian, January 19, 2017 - At stake are areas managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), National Forests and Federal Wildlife Refuges, which contribute to an estimated $646bn each year in economic stimulus from recreation on public lands and 6.1m jobs.

The death of the toxic trade deal TPP was long overdue - but don’t praise Trump for it - By Nick Dearden, Global Justice Now, January 25, 2017 - It’s good news that the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) is dead. In fact, the toxic deal – a pacific version of US-EU deal TTIP – was already dead before Trump took office. Popular pressure from trade unions and campaign groups in the US and elsewhere had killed it. Even free-trader Hillary Clinton turned against it during her campaign. So let’s not thank Trump for something which campaigners defeated.

DONALD TRUMP’S POSTPONED SCIENCE TEST - By Kirsten Stade, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, January 31, 2017 - In its infancy, the Trump administration is struggling mightily with how to handle scientific research and technical analyses. Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) warns today in a letter to the President that failure to embrace scientific integrity and informational transparency will inevitably miscarry, fueling continuing and counterproductive backlash.

Energy Dept. To President Donald Trump: I’m Not Dead Yet! - By Tina Casey, Clean Technica, February 1, 2017 - After all, since Election Day Trump hasn’t exactly gone out of his way to start getting those coal miners back to work. For that matter, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who represents the coal state of Kentucky, also appears to have written off the coal industry.

EPA Freezes Grants, Tells Employees Not To Talk About It, Sources Say - By Kate Sheppard, Huffington Post, January 23, 2017 - EPA staff has been instructed to freeze all its grants ― an extensive program that includes funding for research, redevelopment of former industrial sites, air quality monitoring and education, among other things ― and told not to discuss this order with anyone outside the agency, according to a Hill source with knowledge of the situation.

Federal hiring freeze hits Western land agencies - By Anna V. Smith, High Country News, January 25, 2017 - President Donald Trump announced a freeze on all federal hiring on Monday, eliminating any vacant positions and prohibiting the creation of new positions as of noon on Jan. 22. The presidential memorandum will affect all federal agencies except the military, and includes land management employees. It follows on the heels of another announcement that U.S. Department of Agriculture and Environmental Protection Agency grants and contracts will be frozen.

Free Trade, Rural Canada and How to keep Canada from being Trumped - By Jan Slomp, La Via Campesina, January 27, 2017 - Over the decades since the Canada-US Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and later, NAFTA, was signed, Canadian agriculture has undergone a significant shift. There was once a multitude of diverse local and regional economic drivers, but now we have a “one size fits all” export-driven, low-priced commodity production model. Farm capital needs have sky-rocketed as illustrated by the massive $90 billion farm debt. Off-farm investors control more and more of Canada’s farmland.

Government Agencies Defy Trump by Tweeting Climate Facts - By staff, Coalition of Immokalee Workers, January 26th, 2017 - CIW members join 4.8 million women, men and children in marches across the country — and around the globe — in resounding support of human rights for all!

Groups Representing 10 Million People Oppose Fast Food CEO for Labor Secretary - By Friends of the Earth, EcoWatch, January 30, 2017 - More than 100 food and agriculture organizations, representing more than 10 million people across the food system, sent a letter to Capitol Hill Monday urging senators to oppose the confirmation of fast food CEO Andrew Puzder as secretary of labor.

How Politics and Pollution Could Push China Into the Climate Leader Role the US Is Giving up - By Larry Buhl, DeSmog Blog, January 30, 2017 - “The U.S. economy stands to suffer with Trump’s denial of clean energy,” said Hsu. “If Trump wants to create jobs like he says he does, ignoring the potential of green jobs would be a huge oversight.”

If Progressives Want to Defeat Trump, They Must Win Back Workers - By Les Leopold, Common Dreams, January 25, 2017 - In opposing Trump, we must not slip into defending neoliberalism.

The Keystone pipeline will create just 35 permanent jobs. Don't believe the lies - By Raúl M Grijalva, The Guardian, January 25, 2017 - Congressional Republicans frequently howled at far less heavy-handed exercises of executive power under the previous administration. Today, they applaud Trump’s move on the mistaken premise that these pipelines are good investments. Not only will these projects not create long-lasting jobs – as CNBC, not exactly an anti-corporate mouthpiece, has noted: “Pipelines do not require much labor to operate in the long term” – they will further delay the inevitable transition to clean, renewable energy our economy needs and the American people demand.

EcoWobbles - EcoUnionist News #137

Compiled by x344543 - IWW Environmental Unionism Caucus, January 28, 2017

News of interest to green unionists:

As Trump Advances Pipelines, Oakland Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan Calls on CalPERS to Divest - By Darwin BondGraham, East Bay Express, January 24, 2017 - In response to Trump's actions, Oakland City Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan says it's time for California's biggest pension fund to divest from the companies building both pipelines.

As Trump Takes Office, Women Scientists and Environmental Activists Fight Back Against Climate Change Deniers in D.C. - By Julie Dermansky, DeSmog Blog, January 23, 2017 - The day after Trump’s inauguration, dozens of female scientists decked out in white lab coats met in front of the National Air and Space Museum for the Women’s March in Washington, D.C. They were carrying colorful signs showing support for science.

Cameco shedding 120 jobs at Canadian operations - By Andrew Topf, Mining.Com, January 22, 2017 - The company announced it plans to lay off 10% of its workforce at the McArthur River, Key Lake and Cigar Lake operations, or 120 employees in total.

Casualties of China’s Coal Addiction - By Fu Danni, Sixth Tone, December 22, 2016 - Coal mining fatalities have become a fact of life, though many accidents are preventable.

Commission and Council only add to the dairy overflow with their milk powder - By Jose Miguel Pacheco, Philippe Collin et Victor Pereira, Stéphanie Delhaye et Henri Lecloux, La Via Campesina, January 19, 2017 - ECVC still claims that only the restauration of a regulatory instrument on public sector production will halt the destruction of the dairy sector in Europe and guarantee the quality and sustainability of the production model.

Declaration on the assassination of Aldemar Parra Garcia - By Richard, London Mining Network, January 23, 2017 - On January 7, Aldemar was assassinated by two unidentified gunmen on a motorcycle on the route from El Hatillo to La Loma in broad daylight. He was a community leader and active trade unionist, until recently employed in the mine of Colombian Natural Resources (CNR). Parra leaves his wife and three children behind.

Federal Black Lung Benefits Rates for 2017: Benefits Increase By 1% - By Evan B. Smith, Devil in the Dust, January 19, 2017 - Recently the U.S. Department of Labor increased by 1% the modest amount of money that disabled coal miners and their families who receive federal black lung benefits get each month.  This is the same percent increase as last year.

Forensic Audit Needed of Origin Energy After Explosive Whistleblower Claims - By staff, Lock the Gate Alliance, January 25, 2017 - Carmel Flint, Campaign Coordinator with Lock the Gate Alliance said, "The incidents alleged by an Origin whistleblower this week will send shockwaves through rural communities across Australia – they represent the worst nightmare of farmers forced to live alongside oil or gas mining.

Get Ready for the First Shocks of Trump’s Disaster Capitalism - By Naomi Klein, The Intercept, January 24, 2017 - Speculation is unnecessary. All that’s required is a little knowledge of recent history. Ten years ago, I published “The Shock Doctrine,” a history of the ways in which crises have been systematically exploited over the last half century to further a radical pro-corporate agenda. The book begins and ends with the response to Hurricane Katrina, because it stands as such a harrowing blueprint for disaster capitalism.

LVC SEAf condemns recent criminalisation of traditional seed exchange in Tanzania - By staff, La Via Campesina, January 16, 2017 - The recent reports that Tanzanian farmers would face heavy penalties or a long prison sentence if they continue their traditional seed exchange beyond government prescribed areas does not come as a surprise to La Via Campesina Southern and Eastern Africa (LVC SEAf) and its allies.

Labor, unions, CEC ridicule Coalition push for RET to be scrapped - By Jonathan Gifford, REnew Economy, January 23, 2017 - Butler’s attack came as the unions also complained against the latest Coalition attempts to stymie the renewable energy industry, just as large scale investment was finally poised to take off after years of under-investments and reliance on schemes such as the ACT’s or from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, an institution the Coalition has sought to de-fund.

MLK's Advice on Strike Strategy Still Relevant Today - By Rand Wilson, Labor Notes, January 18, 2017 - Toward the end of his life, Martin Luther King Jr.'s thinking about poverty evolved from racial equality to more of a class perspective. He proposed a Poor People's Campaign to challenge the government to end poverty and a broad coalition to support it.

Massachusetts lawmakers float aggressive bill mandating 100% renewables by 2035 - By Robert Walton, Utility Dive, January 24, 2017 - Rep. Sean Garballey, one of the bill's sponsors, said in a statement that the measure "provides a bold step by placing the Commonwealth on a path to a cleaner and more sustainable future." He said eliminating the use of fossil fuels would encourages job creation and provide health and environmental benefits.

Mexico’s Gasolinazo Ignites Public Rage - By Ryan Mallett-Outtrim, New Internationalist, January 9, 2017 - Mexicans protest gas deregulation, an economic measure many think will exacerbate an already precarious situation.

EcoWobbles - EcoUnionist News #136

Compiled by x344543 - IWW Environmental Unionism Caucus, January 20, 2017

News of interest to green unionists:

Agroecology Is Booming in Argentina - By Fabiana Frayssinet, Inter Press Service, January 17, 2017 - Members of the association have a different concept of what is organic. “It’s when they have no social or economic poisons either. When there is no exploitation, or gender-based wage differences, or child labour. Everything has to conserve a balance,” she said.

Aslef rail union boss Mick Whelan: ‘I'm not a great fan of glorious defeats’ - By Simon Hattenstone, The Guardian, January 14, 2017 - It would be hard enough to win over the public without a hostile media determined to monster him as an extremist who promised “10 years of passenger hell” (he insists he never said these words to transport secretary Chris Grayling); hypocritical (photographs of him travelling on the trains he says are dangerous); and greedy (his pay package is often quoted as £137,000, though this includes pension and national insurance contributions; his actual salary is £94,000.) Some of the “exposés” have been laughable – not least that he lives in a “£500,000” house in Wembley (cheap for London).

As Trump takes office, job growth is pushing GOP governors to embrace renewables - By Peter Maloney, Utility Dive, January 17, 2017 - Three Republican governors recently strengthened the renewable portfolio standards in their states in a sign that the link between job growth and renewable energy incentives may be trumping traditional partisan affiliations.

BC trades union says it's been radio silence from Kinder Morgan on pipeline jobs - Matt Lee, CHED 630 AM, January 13, 2017 - “We’ve tried to engage but to this point we’re a little shocked at the lack of engagement. If Kinder Morgan hopes to have shovels in the ground by September of this year, I think we need to sit down and have a discussion about what the requirements are going to be.”

Call: Join the seventh “We are fed up with agro industry!” demonstration in Berlin - By staff, La Via Campesina, January 19, 2017 - Agri businesses: Take your hands off our food!

Check out the route! 2017 Return for Human Rights Tour only two months away - By dtaff, Coalition of Immokalee Workers, January 18, 2017 - 2,000-mile route of major spring action charts path from Immokalee through the heart of Wendy’s territory in the midwest.

Climate Change Is Already Displacing Mexican Campesinos - By Amy McDermott, Telesur, January 12, 2017 - Right now, the primary factors driving Mexicans to migrate to the United States are better economic prospects or family connections — both of which can be twisted up with climate change. But in Mexico and around the world, climate changes tend to reshuffle populations within borders, too. Droughts and floods, in particular, often trigger shorter-distance moves, largely from rural areas into cities.

Commission and Council milk powder adds to the dairy overflow - By Jose Miguel Pacheco, Philippe Collin et Victor Pereira, and Stéphanie Delhaye et Henri Lecloux, La Via Campesina, January 19, 2017 - On January 23rd, the European Coordination Via Campesina (ECVC), along with the European Milk Board (EMB), will demonstrate in front of the Justus Lipsius building – Rue de la Loi 175, 1000 Brussels, against the placement of milk powder resulting from public intervention, and in defence of the restoration of regulatory instruments on milk production in the EU.

Demand accountability for the Marikana Massacre! Protest the Lonmin AGM! - By Liam Barrington-Bush, London Mining Network, January 14, 2017 - Since the police killings of 34 striking mine workers in August 2012, British-South African mining firm, Lonmin, has failed to live up to many of its social commitments to the workers and the survivors of the deadly attack. Join South African Bishop Johannes Seoka outside the Lonmin AGM to demand accountability from the company and its investors.

Environmental Safeguards Provide Billions In Economic Benefits - By Farrin Cousins, DeSmog Blog, January 14, 2017 - These economic benefits come in several forms, the most obvious being the money being spent directly to create jobs for those tasked with enforcing the rules. But the biggest economic boost comes from longer life spans and better overall health that people experience from breathing cleaner air and living in areas with reduced water pollution.

EcoWobbles - EcoUnionist News #135

Compiled by x344543 - IWW Environmental Unionism Caucus, January 13, 2017

News of interest to green unionists:

As railroad business declines, talks with unions for Nebraska workers screech to a halt - By Russell Hubbard, Omaha World-Herald, January 8, 2017 - Union labor-contract negotiations for one of Nebraska’s key industries — freight railroads — have stalled after almost two years of fruitless bargaining.

Broad coalition helps solar win on 1 - By staff, Florida Solar United Neighborhoods, January 7, 2017 - The grassroots effort pushing for better solar policies quickly changed course to fighting Amendment 1. The group was a collaboration of Tea Party conservatives, business, labor groups, good government organizations, and environmentalists to defend solar.

Byrd Amendments Update: House Republicans from Coalfield Districts Introduce Resolution to Protect Black Lung Improvements from Obamacare Repeal - By Evan B. Smith, Devil in the Dust, January 6, 2017 - Lately the black lung provisions that are within the Affordable Care Act—called the “Byrd Amendments”—have (rightly) been getting a lot of media attention.  For example, there’s been coverage by CNN, the Washington Post, the New York Times, Stat News (which was picked up by the Boston Globe and The Week), and many others.

Can We Expect More Flint Debacles In a Pruitt-Led EPA? - By Kirsten Stade, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, January 11, 2017 - While his views on climate change are well known, it is far less clear what approach Scott Pruitt, the Trump nominee to lead the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, will bring to bread-and-butter matters such as anti-pollution enforcement and oversight of state programs. Today, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) is calling on him to affirm that civil and criminal enforcement of federal air, water, toxic and other basic pollution laws will be a high priority in the EPA he seeks to lead.

Canada well on its way to a renewable-energy future - By Christopher Barrington-Leigh, Toronto Globe and Mail, December 24, 2016 - The bottom line: There is plenty of renewable-energy potential near current roads, power lines and population centres. Most of it is wind power, with plenty of hydro and solar as well. In fact, every province except Alberta and Ontario has a large surfeit – enough to be choosy about siting installations to minimize environmental side-effects.

China Aims to Spend at Least $360 Billion on Renewable Energy by 2020 - By Michael Forsythe, New York Times, January 5, 2017 - The agency said in a statement that China would create more than 13 million jobs in the renewable energy sector by 2020, curb the growth of greenhouse gasses that contribute to global warming and reduce the amount of soot that in recent days has blanketed Beijing and other Chinese cities in a noxious cloud of smog.

China is Leaving the U.S. Behind on Clean Energy Investment - By Joel Jaeger, Paul Joffe and Ranping Song, World Resources Institute, January 6, 2017 - Looking at the entire economy, not just foreign investment, China regularly outspends the United States on renewable energy. It invested more than $100 billion in clean energy in 2015, more than double U.S. investment, which spurred robust job growth. Of the 8.1 million renewable energy jobs that exist globally, 3.5 million are in China, compared to less than one million in the United States. And China’s National Energy Administration projects that new investment from 2016 to 2020 will create 13 million jobs in the renewable energy sector.

Climate Change Is A Global Loss For The Economy: Report - By Adam Johnston, Clean Technica, January 9, 2017 - Poorer countries will be the hardest hit economically by climate change. The report suggested that average income from 60% of citizens from the poorest nations will see a 70% decline at the end of the century, due to the effects of climate change. A warming world will also impact economic inputs. The analysis found crop yields, labor productivity, and labor supply decline sharply between 20C and 30C.

Coal country afraid Trump will repeal black lung benefits with Obamacare - By staff, CNN, January 2, 2017 - Former coal miners and their families in Kentucky, who voted for Donald Trump, are worried that the President-elect will repeal Obamacare, and the benefits for black lung that come with it.

#DayAgainstDenial Protests Across the U.S. Call Attention to Climate Change as Trump Cabinet Confirmation Hearings Begin - By Sharon Kelly, DeSmog Blog, January 10, 2017 - “We need cabinet officials who recognize those realities and who will work for a just and rapid transition to renewable energy,” he added, “rather than denying the threats that we face and advancing the interests of the fossil-fuel industry.”

Demonetisation in India: Farmers' Groups write an open letter to the Prime Minister - By various, La Via Campesina, January 9, 2017 -  - Several farmers' groups in India have written a joint letter to the Prime Minister of India, highlighting the severe distress that exists in the countryside after the Indian Government withdrew nearly 86% of the currency in circulation overnight, in a supposed crackdown on corruption and 'black economy'.

The End of Indian Point and the Myths of Nuclear Power in America - By Karl Grossman, CounterPunch, January 11, 2017 - The engineer, employed at nuclear plants and for a major nuclear plant manufacturer, wanted to relate that even with the Indian Point news—“and I’d keep my fingers crossed that there is no disaster involving those aged Indian Point plants in those next three or four years”—nuclear power remains a “ticking time bomb.” Concerned about retaliation, he asked his name not be published.

Their Final Hours: Ten Years After the Sago Mine Disaster - By Nick Mullins, The Thoughtful Coal Miner, January 3, 2017 - On this day ten years ago, thirteen men were still trapped following the explosion that rocked their mine over 28 hour before. Rescue efforts were in a state of disarray. The company, and many politicians, were busy doing damage control in front of the press to preserve their image.

From the “Things that Make You Go Hmmm” Department… - By staff, Coalition of Immokalee Workers, January 9, 2017 - T’ruah (The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights) calls on burger giant to publicly “reject designation as official burger of Neo Nazis”

How postal workers removed the Staples - By Jamie Partridge, Socialist Worker, January 10, 2017 - A three-year battle against the outsourcing of living-wage, union postal jobs to the low-wage, nonunion Staples ended January 5 when USPS management informed the APWU that the "approved shipper" program in Staples Office Supply stores will be shut down by the end of February 2017. The union-initiated boycott of Staples was called off.

In Canada, a move to protect data from Trump - By Sarah Tory, High Country News, January 10, 2017 - On a Saturday morning in December, Henry Warwick trudged through the slushy streets of Toronto, Canada, to attend an event at the University of Toronto’s towering Robarts Library. He took the elevator to a room on the fourth floor where 150 people— mostly IT specialists, hackers, scholars, and activists—had assembled for the auspiciously titled “Guerrilla Archiving Event: Saving Environmental Data From Trump.”

Jarvis Tenure a Disaster for National Park Resources - By Kirsten Stade, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, January 11, 2017 - The vast trove of natural resources within our national park system is in far worse shape today than eight years ago, says Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) which points to the turbulent tenure of National Park Service (NPS) Director Jonathan (Jon) Jarvis as the primary cause. After nearly eight often scandal-plagued years, Jarvis steps down today as the 18th NPS Director.

Lessons from the Republic Windows workers’ sit-in, eight years on - By Curtis Black, Chicago Reporter, January 5, 2017 - Eight years ago, Republic workers sat down, risked arrest, and forced big banks to come up with their severance pay.  They went on to reorganize their company as a workers cooperative.  It’s that kind of courageous and strategic confrontation with the status quo, focused on economic justice, that holds the best hope for progress in the age of Emanuel and Trump.

The long wait for work a terrifying, demoralizing slog - By Reid Southwick, Calgary Herald, December 26, 2016 - A stunning 60,000 Albertans — roughly the population of Airdrie — have been jobless for six months or more. They account for 2.5 per cent of the province’s labour force, the highest threshold in the country that Alberta shares with Newfoundland and Labrador.

Manatee Mortality Spiked in 2016 - By Kirsten Stade, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, January 11, 2017 - Last year was not a good year for Florida manatees, as deaths in 2016 rose to a recent high and the numbers killed by watercraft reached an all-time record, according to figures posted today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). At the same time, manatee deaths related to toxic red-tide events are also starting to creep back up, more than tripling in the last year.

A massive gas-price hike in Mexico is leading to frustration, violence, and death - Aura Bogado, Grist, January 9, 2017 - Mexican citizens have taken to hijacking tankers, running over police, and blocking the U.S.-Mexico border in order to show their unhappiness. In response, police have arrested more than 1,500 people and killed at least four.

More Farmers, Better Food: A framework for British Agriculture - By staff, Land Workers Alliance, January 9, 2017 - The Landworkers’ Alliance have been working on an 8 point proposal that is integral to sustaining a healthy, vibrant and just farming sector. The UK’s small scale, ecological and family farms are at the heart of our rural culture and communities; they create employment, protect cherished landscapes and produce much of the food that we eat.

Most laid-off energy workers remain out of work - By Jordan Blum, FuelFix, January 9, 2017 - Nearly 90 percent of surveyed workers who lost their jobs during the oil bust either remain unemployed or opted to leave the oil and gas sector entirely, according to an ongoing study being conducted by University of Houston researchers.

Nationwide Layoff Watch: Biglaw Firm Tells Underperforming Office To Go Frack Itself - Staci Zaretsky, Above the Law, January 9, 2017 - Poor oil and gas performance continued through 2016, with Pennsylvania — the epicenter of the Marcellus shale industry for all intents and purposes — losing 32 percent of its jobs in this area over the course of the year. It was only a matter of time before a Biglaw firm fell prey to to the underperforming market, and one of the largest firms in the country is now waving the white flag of defeat.

EcoWobbles - EcoUnionist News #134

Compiled by x344543 - IWW Environmental Unionism Caucus, January 9, 2017

News of interest to green unionists:

After Helping Elect Donald Trump, Pennsylvania’s Coal Country Looks Ahead - By Reid Frazier, Allegheny Front, January 4, 2017 - All over the country, coal miners will be watching President-elect Donald Trump to see if he keeps his promises. In West Virginia last year, he told a crowd, “We’re going to put the miners back to work—we’re going to put the miners back to work.”

At least 12 dead after coal mine collapse in India, Myanmar jade mine landslide - By Andrew Topf, Mining.Com, December 30, 2016 - Two separate mining accidents in India and Myanmar have together claimed the lives of a dozen miners, though the death toll may soon rise as the search for bodies continues.

Black Lung Disease is Making a Comeback Among Appalachian Miners - By Benny Becker, Allegheny Front, January 6, 2017 - At the age of 38, a coal miner named Mackie Branham Jr. was diagnosed with progressive massive fibrosis, a debilitating and terminal form of an illness that was supposed to be a disease of the past — black lung. But Branham is among many miners afflicted by a resurgence in the disease, and officials are just beginning to realize the scope of the problem. A review of health clinic records shows roughly a thousand such cases, many times more than federal officials had thought existed.

Centre orders safety audits in coal mines - By staff, The Hindu Business Line, January 4, 2017 - A small mine patch, Lalmatia was operated by a contractor Mahalaxmi Industries. On December 29, a part of the mine where operations were on collapsed, thus burying contractual workers.

China plans to create 13 million clean energy jobs by 2020 - By Katie Herzog, Grist, January 5, 2017 - The country has announced that it will invest $361 billion in renewable energy through the end of the decade — another signal that the world’s most populous nation is serious about combating climate change. The investment, Reuters reports, will continue China’s shift away from coal and other dirty fuels.

Citizens Acting for Rail Safety-La Crosse: Transporting oil comes with inherent risks - By Irv Balto, LaCrosse Tribune, December 29, 2016 - Presently, there are not enough independent inspectors to ensure the safety of existing rails, tankers and pipelines.

Clean energy will be a $50-trillion industry, but Trump policies mean the U.S. won’t benefit - By Joe Romm, Think Progress, January 4, 2017 - The best charts of 2016 reveal the clean energy revolution is unstoppable. At least, it is unstoppable globally. But if the United States makes a historic blunder and shifts its focus back toward dirty energy just when the rest of the world has made a $50 trillion (or higher) commitment to a carbon-free future, then it won’t reap the vast job-creating benefits of the remarkable ongoing cost reductions shown in chart above.

Coal Country Looks Forward To 2017 - By Leigh Paterson, Inside Energy, December 29, 2016 - 2016 was the year the collapse of the coal industry finally hit the epicenter of US production: Wyoming’s mineral-rich Powder River Basin. Two out of the four largest coal companies in the U.S. declared bankruptcy. They shed hundreds of their Wyoming miners at all once.

The Coal Industry in Our Public Schools - By Nick Mullins, The Thoughtful Coal Miner, December 31, 2016 - There are many problems plaguing Appalachia today: underfunded school systems, poverty, drug abuse, negative stereotyping of Appalachia in the media, and today a severe downturn in coal demand within a mono-economy built upon coal extraction. While many are looking to find alternative means to alleviate these problems by strengthening and diversifying the Appalachian economy, the coal industry is busy at work preparing the next generation of Appalachian coal miners dedicated to fighting the “War on Coal”.

Collaboration is just a strategy: Overcoming the limits of the Commons - By Christian Felber, Green European Journal, January 4, 2017 - Although the commons are no silver bullet solution to society’s ills, combined with the common good and other alternative models they can form the basis of a fairer and more sustainable economic order.

Combating Wage Theft under Donald Trump - By  Daniel J. Galvin, The American Prospect, December 22, 2016 - In what has become something of an annual ritual, the Department of Labor recently announced that an investigation of the garment industry in Southern California uncovered rampant wage theft.

Crony Capitalism Made Rick Perry Our Energy Secretary - By Jim Hightower, Alternet, December 29, 2016 - Rick Perry has taken quite a tumble since being governor of Texas. He was a twice-failed GOP presidential wannabe and then ended up being a rejected contestant on Dancing with the Stars, the television show for has-been celebrities. But now, having kissed the ring of Donald Trump, Perry is being lifted from the lowly role of twinkle-toed TV hoofer to — get this — taking charge of our government’s nuclear arsenal.

Into the abyss: oil states face turmoil as climate policies bite - By Karl Mathiesen, Climate Change News, January 4, 2017 - A transition to green energy sources threatens the stability of oil-rich states like Venezuela, Russia and Saudi Arabia.

Jharkhand coal mine collapse: Eleven workers killed, over 50 trapped - By Bedanti Saran and Pankaj Kumar, Hindustan Times, December 30, 2016 - Eleven workers died and over 50 others were feared trapped when an open-cast coal mine at Paharia Bhodaye in Jharkhand’s Godda district collapsed on Thursday night.

As pot legalization nears, cannabis industry can't forget workers' rights - By Paul Meinema, Rabble.Ca, January 4, 2017 - When it comes to workplace safety and rights for cannabis workers in Canada, the recent report by the Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation leaves some labour advocates a bit dazed and confused.

Railway terror alert reignites train drivers' union row over safety staff - By Mark Ellis, Daily Mirror, January 6, 2017 - A busy rail route running through London has been put on terrorist alert after staff failed to find a fake bomb in a security test. And it is doubly embarrassing for Govia Thameslink (GTR), which owns Southern Rail, and is locked in a bitter row with rail unions over the “safety critical” role of guards on trains. The train drivers’ union Aslef say what drivers can see from their train cabs is a world away from the claims made by Southern Rail.

Rising Inequality Is Far From Inevitable - By Robert Kuttner, The American Prospect, January 2, 2017 - We could have much higher minimum wages. We could stop the union-bashing. We could restore a brand of globalization that promotes rather than undermines national social standards. We could invest massively in a green transition, modeled on the World War II mobilization that reduced unemployment from 14 percent to 2 percent in two years and produced tens of millions of good jobs.

Southern Rail strike: It's all about safety - By staff, Reel News, December 21, 2016 - As railworkers in the RMT and ASLEF try and curb Southern's disastrous running of the franchise which is seriously jeopardising the safety of passengers, proof that it's the Government - NOT the unions - who are turning this into a political dispute.

These Workers are Celebrating 20 Years of Shared Bread and Shared Ownership - By Misty Dawn Spicer-Sitzes, Shareable, December 19, 2016 - Workers in California are taking economic change into their own hands. The Arizmendi Association of Cooperatives is one of the shining examples of how shared ownership empowers workers and builds community. For the past 20 years, the association, comprised of six bakeries, has been innovating the way business is done. What’s its recipe for success? It turns out that it is more than just tasty treats: Each bakery is democratically-owned and governed by its workers.

Time to hold lead companies responsible - By Monica M. Tetzlaff, South Bend Tribune, December 31, 2016 - Elevated blood lead levels have been reported from Flint to East Chicago, and most recently in Census Tract 6 in South Bend. Who is responsible? Let me give you a historian’s perspective.

Unions and Climate Change - By staff, Socialist Project, December 2016 - How do we build a trade union movement that promotes solutions to the climate crisis and responds to the attacks on workers' rights and protections? The ecological and social implications of climate change have – or should – become a central parameter for all discussions of work and capitalism. It is generally agreed that reliance on the burning of fossil fuels as the pre-eminent energy source for production and consumption over the history of capitalism is the critical factor in the ruinous greenhouse gas emissions triggering global warming, which would become irreversible if the earth's atmosphere were brought to a 'tipping-point', typically set at 2ºC. The leading scientific estimates project that a rise in average global temperatures of 2ºC is the threshold for irreversible climate change; that this can be expected from an accumulation of 1 trillion metric tonnes of carbon in the atmosphere; that we are approaching 600 million tonnes; and that the carbon 'tipping-point' may well be reached in 30 years unless carbon emissions can be reduced by 2-5% per year. The unrelenting build-up of greenhouse gases has led to the jarring conclusion, drawn by climatologists, ecological militants and union activists, that an exit from reliance on fossil fuels for energy needs to occur with some urgency.

EcoWobbles - EcoUnionist News #133

Compiled by x344543 - IWW Environmental Unionism Caucus, January 2, 2017

News of interest to green unionists:

Advanced Black Lung Cases Surge In Appalachia - By Howard Berkes, All Things Considered (NPR), December 15, 2016 - Across Appalachia, coal miners are suffering from the most serious form of the deadly mining disease black lung in numbers more than 10 times what federal regulators report, an NPR investigation has found.

Bad News for America’s Workers - By Joseph E. Stiglitz, Project Syndicate, December 19, 2016 - As bad as his administration will be for America’s economy and workers, its policies on climate change, human rights, the media, and ensuring peace and security are likely to be no less damaging for everyone else.

Bangladesh garment factories sack hundreds after pay protests - By Michael Safi and agencies in Dhaka, The Guardian, December 28, 2016 - At least 1,500 workers have been sacked from Bangladesh garment factories after protests forced a week-long shutdown at dozens of sites supplying top European and American brands.

Bye bye asbestos: ban welcome, but long overdue - By Dr. Elaine MacDonald, EcoJustice, December 27, 2016 - After years of inaction, Canada finally announced its intention to ban the manufacture and trade of asbestos by 2018. Once in place, Canada will join more than 50 countries with asbestos bans, including those in the E.U.Japan, Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay and South Korea.

CTA workers demand fair contract during ‘Day of Action’ - By Patrick Elwood, WGN TV, December 21, 2016 - Union workers from transit union 308 and 241 gathered at at CTA headquarters this afternoon at Lake and Jefferson Many, if not most of the men and women in the demonstration, drive the buses and operate the trains.

China: 460 million ordered to stay indoors - By Sean O' Torain, Facts For Working People, December 21, 2016 - After the collapse of Stalinism in the former Soviet Union a brutal Russian capitalism has arose and it has been much the same in the other former so called Soviet republics. But while capitalism has been restored the Russian bourgeois have been unable, at least so far, to develop a modern vibrant capitalist state with a growing home market and exports that can compete on the world market. It pretty much relies on its oil and gas exports and arms.

Coal Is Dying—Coal Country Doesn't Have To: Creating The Post-Coal Economy In Appalachia - By Courtney Balestier, Fact Coexist, December 12, 2016 - A trip through West Virginia and eastern Kentucky to meet the people who are striving to create a new economy that can keep the region and its culture alive as its major industry goes under.

The environmental movement grapples with social justice in the age of Trump - By Natasha Geiling, Think Progress, December 23, 2016 - The environmental movement’s gradual but marked embrace of environmental justice has come at a time of unprecedented attention to the issue at the federal level. The Obama administration’s EPA has sought to make environmental justice a priority within the agency, releasing detailed plans about how to take race, income, and other factors into account when crafting environmental policies and regulations. But the movement is at a crossroads, facing an incoming administration that seems to care little for the environment or social justice. So where does the movement — finally on the brink of breaking into the mainstream — go from here?

Fifteen Conservation, Farmworker Groups Urge EPA to Protect People, Pollinators From Dangerous Pesticide Mixtures - By Lori Ann Burd, Center for Biological Diversity; Jeannie Economos, Farmworker Association of Florida; and Preston Peck, Toxic Free North Carolina, December 21. 2016 - Fifteen organizations representing more than 5 million members sent the Environmental Protection Agency a letter today urging it to follow through on its duty to protect people and the environment from dangerous pesticide mixtures. The letter comes on the heels of an investigation revealing that more than two-thirds of pesticide products the EPA approved for four major companies over the past six years contain mixtures that make them more toxic than the individual pesticides on their own. The information on synergy was found in publically available patents filed by chemical companies, but apparently was not shared with the EPA by the chemical companies.

Five reasons to be optimistic about climate change - By Jon Goldin-Dubois, High Country News, December 21, 2016 - In 2015, employment in the U.S. solar business grew 12 times faster than overall job creation. There are now more solar jobs in the United States than jobs in natural gas and oil extraction. Nationally, investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy produce more jobs than investments in fossil fuels, according to PERI’s Global Green Growth report. The report also concluded that if the U.S. were to cut carbon emissions by 40 percent through investments in clean energy, 2.7 million jobs could be created annually.

The growing urgency of building a new economy in coal-powered Appalachia - By Marlene Cimons, Think Progress, December 21, 2016 - Scientist Jeremy Richardson lives in two worlds. Based in Washington, D.C., he specializes in energy policy and works to fight climate change. At the same time, he is the son, brother, and grandson of West Virginia coal miners and his roots go deep into coal country. He knows that coal mining is not just a job but a way of life, something those who want to help coal workers adapt to a post-coal future must understand.

I’m a cleaner on GWR trains. We’re striking because we’re treated unfairly - By anonymous, The Guardian, December 21, 2016 - When I’m too sick to work, I have two choices: either I use my annual leave allowance or I don’t get paid. If I don’t get paid, I can’t pay my rent, so I have to borrow money from a payday loan company. If I borrow money it’s difficult to earn enough to pay it back – but for me it’s worse to waste annual leave because then I can’t use it to go home and visit my family.

Justice for Nicinha and the riverside communities of the Brazilian Amazon - By staff, La Via Campesina, December 24, 2016 - Mother, fisherwoman, activist of Brazil's Movimento dos Atingidos por Barragens (MAB – Movement of People Affected by Dams) and a courageous woman who was not afraid to denounce the human rights violations committed by the Sustainable Energy of Brazil Consortium (ESBR)  against the communities on the banks of the Madeira River, Nicinha was criminally silenced. Today, however, her voice has multiplied and continues to echo through each one of us who have joined her struggle and denounce on the occasion of her wake the hideous crimes suffered by the riverside communities of the Brazilian Amazon.

Key Federal Worker Protections May Be in Jeopardy Under Trump Regime - By Bob Hennelly, The Chief, December 24, 2016 - [A]ppointments to head the Department of Labor, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy may present unprecedented challenges to the tens of thousands of Federal civil-service employees who are committed to the mission of these agencies but will find themselves at philosophical odds with their new bosses.

Lessons from Richmond, California - By Sid Shniad, The Bullet, December 23, 2016 - Refinery Town describes the experience of the Richmond Progressive Alliance (RPA) in California's East Bay, showing that it is possible for community-based coalitions to overcome even the enormous wealth and power of a company like oil industry giant Chevron, which had dominated local politics in the area for generations, through corporate paternalism and strong-arm tactics. The kind of progressive change that is so badly needed will require the building of similar coalitions on widespread basis, both for the change they provide at the local level and as a sound foundation for the regional, national and international networks that we will need to confront neoliberalism globally. In any event, Early reminds us that under the prevailing circumstances, those seeking progressive social change "...have few short term options other than expanded grassroots work in the trenches of local politics, labor organizing, or social movement building."

Local control can replace 19th-century energy thinking - By Mary Geddry, The World, December 26, 2016 - The organization Trade Unions for Energy Democracy [TUED] states in a report entitled, "Resist, Reclaim, Restructure: Unions and the Struggle for Energy Democracy," that the "business as usual” approach does not benefit or protect energy workers and it "opposes the idea that the commodification of nature is key to solving the profound ecological crisis we face as a species.

EcoWobbles - EcoUnionist News #132

Compiled by x344543 - IWW Environmental Unionism Caucus, December 17, 2016

News of interest to green unionists:

Automation, Climate Change and Donald Trump: What Kind of Future Are We In For? - By John Light, Bill Moyers & Company, December 5, 2016 - Author Peter Frase combines science fiction and Marxist theory to imagine possible outcomes, for better and for worse.

CTA workers plan contract protest, but no service disruptions - By Jordan Owen, Chicago Sun-Times, December 20, 2016 - CTA workers will take part in a “day of action” across the city Wednesday to demand a fair contract, but do not plan to inconvenience commuters.

Coral Not Coal; Australian Activists Fight To Save the Great Barrier Reef - By Maxine Newlands, The Ecologist, December 15, 2016 - Carmichael mine will provide 600 initial jobs to a region suffering with 10% unemployment, the second highest in Australia. Original predictions of 10,000 jobs were disproved in court, with "the correct jobs figures" downgrading the jobs estimated by Adani. There will be 1,464 net jobs, not the Adani figure of 10,000," says Environmental Defence Office (EDO) CEO, Jo-Ann Bragg.

Dairy and Poultry in India—Growing Corporate Concentration, Losing Game for Small Producers  - By staff, La Via Campesina, December 21, 2016 - Despite India’s booming success in cooperative models of production, especially the dairy cooperative movement that turned it from a milk deficient country to the world’s highest milk producer, there is a growing push towards free trade, privatization and hyper competitiveness.

Diamond Pipeline Company Admits The Massive Project Will Only Create 15 Permanent Jobs - By Emerson Urry, EnviroNews TV, December 14, 2016 -  Jobs, jobs, jobs — that’s about all anyone ever heard from supporters of the Keystone XL Pipeline before that project went down in flames at the hands of the State Department earlier this year. Opponents continuously pushed back that Keystone XL would have created less than 40 permanent jobs while putting the environment at great risk. But that didn’t matter to KXL cheerleaders. They just kept on a truckin’ with their “jobs, jobs, jobs” sales pitch, despite what the permanent jobs numbers really were.

Dirty Threads, Dangerous Factories: Health and Safety in Los Angeles’ Fashion Industry - By Garment Worker Center and Others, UCLA Labor Center, December 9, 2016 - In collaboration with the Garment Worker Center and UCLA Occupational Safety and Health (UCLA LOSH), the UCLA Labor Center just released Dirty Threads, Dangerous Factories: Health and Safety in Los Angeles’ Fashion Industry. The study finds that fast fashion, an approach that moves garments from design to shelf at an accelerated pace, leads to dangerous working conditions for garment workers.

Energy Efficiency Is Growing Jobs & Fueling The Economy - By Sheryl Carter, NRDC, December 19, 2016 - 2016 marks another year in a long string of significant gains for energy efficiency—making efficiency not only the most cost-effective way to meet our energy needs, avoid the need for more dirty power plants, and cut people’s utility bills—but also to grow our economy and create jobs. The uncertainty about policy under the new Administration, and nominations like Rick Perry for the Department of Energy, may lead some to wonder whether this positive trend will continue into 2017 and beyond.

EPA Slams Big Ag’s Syngenta on Farmworker Safety Violations - By staff, Global Justice Ecology Project, December 19, 2016 - The the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) filed a complaint last week against agrichemical giant Syngenta for putting the health and safety of farmworkers on Kauai at risk by violating several federal pesticide regulations. The agency says Syngenta failed to tell workers to avoid fields recently treated with restricted-use pesticides, resulting in the hospitalization of several workers. Restricted-use pesticides are so toxic that they are not available to the general public. According to EPA, Syngenta allegedly “allowed or directed workers to enter the treated field before the required waiting period had passed, and without proper personal protective equipment. After the workers’ exposure, Syngenta failed to provide adequate decontamination supplies onsite and failed to provide prompt transportation for emergency medical attention.”

A Guide To Inspiring Climate Action In The Age Of Trump - By Jeremy Deaton, Clean Technica, December 15, 2016 - In deep-red states like Texas and Iowa, wind energy is creating jobs and shrinking electric bills. In Oklahoma, Florida and Georgia, Tea Party Republicans are clamoring for solar power. Small towns in rural America have embraced renewable energy. This is where climate advocates have the greatest opportunity to reach the right wing — on the promise of clean power.

Gutting The EPA Will Put Millions Of Lives, And The Economy, At Risk - By Farron Cousins, DeSmog Blog, December 17, 2016 - If Trump follows through on his promise to get rid of the Clean Power Rules, it would result in a net economic loss for the United States. As the rules stand right now, they would save both states and citizens on their utility bills, in addition to creating an estimated 74,000 to 243,000 new jobs in the United States. The economic multiplier effect tells us that every job created will have a ripple effect through the economy, resulting in more and more jobs being created due to increased spending by citizens and increased demand for goods. If the Clean Power Rules are eliminated, these jobs will never manifest, resulting in untold economic losses.

If our protests against Donald Trump aren't strategic, they will fail - By Stephen Crowley, The Guardian, December 16, 2016 - The decision to halt the Dakota Access pipeline was a huge victory for Native Americans and environmentalists. But a decisive factor in the Department of Army’s decision might have been the thousands of veterans who mobilized to block the pipeline. If an anti-Trump movement could draw in veterans, police officers, rank-and-file union members, in whatever number, it could prove unstoppable.

Leaked Report Reveals BP Safety Failures as It Heads Back to Gulf of Mexico - By Maeve McClenaghan and Lawrence Carter, Greenpeace EnergyDesk, December 13, 2016 - The confidential document handed to Energydesk and shared with the Financial Times, reveals serious weaknesses in the way the company manages critical  information and reporting of incidents at its refineries and oil rigs. It went on to claim the failures got close to two potentially lethal accidents and was costing the firm $180m a year.

MTA union workers threaten strike if contract demands aren’t met - By Vincent Barone, AM New York, December 14, 2016 - The union that represents MTA bus and subway workers is shaping its contract requests around the dangers of the job — and workers have threatened to strike if terms aren’t met.

New Yorkers brave cold to turn up the heat on New York to divest from fossil fuels - By Betámia Coronel, Fossil Free, December 16, 2016 - Most importantly, this report highlighted that pension funds have become one of the largest contributors to divestment commitments. This past year we witnessed major cities like Berlin, Paris, Stockholm and Washington DC commit to divest, proving that New York is dangerously behind the times.

ND Farm Bureau can still do the right thing - By Jeri Lynn Bakken, Dakota Resources Council, December 12, 2016 - North Dakota’s voters understand the way to build strong communities is to ensure family farmers live in the communities they serve and have a stake in the land they work.  They also understand that strong communities build a strong state where the people working the land contribute to the economy and preserve the environment—They understood this in the midst of the great economic depression of the 1930’s and they understand it today.

NRC E-Mail: Pilgrim Plant ‘Overwhelmed’ Trying to Run Station - By staff, CapeCod.Com, December 7, 2016 - "One of the issues that they described is that the workers are under pressure to keep the reactor running. Entergy staff don’t want to investigate problems because they might have to shut down the reactor to fix it," Turco added.

Philadelphia launches $1 billion green jobs plan - Katie Colaneri, NPR, December 14, 2016 - Philadelphia is moving forward with an ambitious plan to create 10,000 “green jobs” over 10 years. It involves investing $1 billion in public and private money into energy efficiency projects in all city-owned buildings, schools, as well as 25,000 low-to-moderate-income homes and 2,500 small businesses.

Pilgrim nuclear plant staff said to be ‘overwhelmed’ - By Travis Andersen, Boston Globe, December 8, 2016 - Staff at the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station appear to be “overwhelmed” and struggling to improve performance at the facility, which has a poor safety record and is set to close in less than three years, according to an internal memo from a federal regulator made public on Tuesday.


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