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green unionism

Malaysians Protest Anew Lynas Rare Earths Plant; Aussie Environmental Protester Among Those Arrested

By Vittorio Hernandez - International Business Times, June 24, 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.

About 1,000 protesters blocked the entrance of the Lynas Advanced Materials facility in Gebeng, Kuantan, on Sunday as Malaysians push anew for the closure of the facility.

Unions in the Americas call for “Energy Sovereignty and Democratization”

By Sean Sweeney - Trade Unions for Energy Democracy, June 3, 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.

The Trade Union Confederation of the Americas (TUCA)  has released a major policy instrument, the Development Platform for the Americas (English version here) or Plataforma de Desarrollo de las Americas (PLADA).  Spanish original is here. The report was released in Santiago, Chile, at a meeting with Chilean president Michelle Bachelet on May 6 in the presence of more than 5,000 trade unionists and friends.

The year-long process of discussion and debate leading to the launch of PLADA reflects growing support among unions and social movements for democratic control of energy and other strategic sectors as well as the need for governments to halt the for-profit exploitation of the commons.

TUCA is the largest regional workers´ organization in the Americas.  It represents more than 50 million workers belonging to 53 national trade union organizations based in 23 countries. TUCA is the regional structure of the International Trade Union Confederation. A number of TUCA affiliates participate in TUED, from Argentina, Canada and the United States.

PLADA calls on the region’s various social and political forces to “work together to build alternatives in the battle for a new hegemony.” The document is structured around four pillars or dimensions – political, economic, social and environmental – which will be geared towards achieving sustainable development.

Doro-Mito Strikes Against Work Exposed to Radiation-Stop Reopening of Rail Truck to Tatsuta Station! Fukushima Nuclear Disaster Three Years On

By Yosuke Oda, Secretary General of National Conference for Worldwide Immediate Abolishment of All Nuclear Power Plants (NAZEN) - June 19, 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.

Doro-Mito, a sister union of Doro-Chiba, have been repeatedly waging strikes against re-opening of rail truck near Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. This struggle of rail workers in their own workplace against radiation-exposed work immensely shook Iwaki City where many of “Fukushima Liquidators” (nuclear plant workers to settle the catastrophe) live. We sincerely ask you, friends all over the world, to support this struggle and urge you to fight with us.

In concert with the Abe administration, which has been exerting enormous pressure on the evacuees to return to their contaminated hometown, the East Japan Railway Company (JR East) began test operation for the restoration of the disrupted railway line on Saturday May 10 on the rail truck between Hirono Station and Tatsuta Station, 16 kilometer (10 miles) from the Fukushima Daiichi NPP. On Monday June 1, it extended “commercial” service to the Tatsuta Station. Now, trains are running inside the 20 Kilometer Radius—“the Evacuation Zone.”

For the safety of workers and passengers, Doro-Mito' maintenance and inspection workers waged a strike on May 10 and the drivers struck on May 30 and 31. On May 31, Doro-Mito and its supporters from around the country held a rally and marched in Iwaki City with several hundred participants.

Workers of the World, Divest! (Otherwise we could lose everything!)

By Steve Ongerth - IWW Environmental Unionism Caucus, June 20, 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.

Fellow Workers:

It's time for us to demand that our unions divest our pension funds from fossil fuels, dirty energy, and strip mining.

It's time to divest from mountaintop coal removal, offshore oil drilling, natural gas (and oil) fracking, tar sands and shale mining, coal seam gas, so-called "clean" coal, and all other forms of "extreme" energy.

Why We Need to Do This

Fossil fuels and dirty energy are the past, not the future:

Global Warming is real and caused by human (mostly corporate and military) activity. The root causes of global warming are the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation. The scientific consensus on this issue is solid and well researched. All of the claims to the contrary are nonsense, unscientific, and largely funded by those industries that profit from the activities that cause global warming

The atmospheric concentration of CO2, the most abundant greenhouse gas (GHG) has surpassed 400 ppm, well above the 280 ppm level that has been consistent throughout human history. Most climate scientists agree that the upper tolerable limit of CO2 in the atmosphere is 350 ppm, which would still result in a 2-degrees C increase in global average temperature by 2100. To return to a level below 350 ppm, the world needs to transition away from fossil fuels as rapidly as possible.

Because of this need, at least 80% of the known carbon / fossil fuels must remain unextracted, in the ground. Unfortunately, investors have banked on 100% of those fuels being extracted. That means that these "assets" are overvalued, and there is a rush on to extract them as quickly as possible, which explains the push to "drill-baby-drill", mine, and frack to the extreme. When this "Carbon Bubble" bursts and these assets are stranded, the investments in them will be essentially worthless. There are even signs that we've reached this point already!

The driving forces behind the rush to extract include the Koch Brothers. They are also a major financial supporter of the climate change denial machine, the efforts to thwart the deployment of clean energy (no doubt because these alternative technologies threaten the Koch Brothers' monopoly), and the anti-union National Right to Work Foundation.

IWW Canvassers Strike Over Unpaid Wages

By Shane Burley - Labor Notes, June 2014

A crew of nine marijuana legalization canvassers walked off their jobs and into the Portland office of the Industrial Workers of the World June 5, looking to form a union.

The workers at the Oregon Campaign for the Restoration and Regulation of Hemp had been refused paychecks they were owed. This was on top of several past bounced paychecks. After their checks did not arrive on the late schedule and management would not even discuss it, they walked out.

With IWW support, the canvassers have formed the United Campaign Workers. In a joint statement they pointed to a “culture of secrecy and information repression that make incidents like this an ongoing problem.”

Before they will return to work, they want a written agreement from management offering them the $15-an-hour pay rate and correct overtime they were promised when they were hired.

After a first march on the boss, they started a call-in campaign, asking supporters and union partners to phone the campaign headquarters and express support. Meanwhile, the campaign has hired other canvassers to replace them.

A second demonstration June 13 brought dozens of supporters from the Portland IWW, Portland Solidarity Network, Jobs with Justice, and Rose City Resistance, who marched up the street and into the campaign office. A worker spokesperson tried to present the demands to canvass director Kyle Purdy—who screamed and swore at the protesters, claiming he represented a “real grassroots” campaign.

Green Unionism: The Way Ahead

By Bill Mee - SPB Searchlight, May 31, 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.

As unfettered capitalism with all its’ unsustainable methodologies of unlimited growth and consumption drives the planet ever closer to environmental catastrophe is there anything that can be done to reverse the damage and put economic activity on a long term sustainable basis?

The answer may just be yes. Most people will be familiar with activist groups such as Trade Unions and environmental groups such as Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth and they would at first glance seem to be poles apart on what they are trying to achieve.

The answer then must lie in the making of common cause. This is now possible. The need for working class organizing across trade or guild lines potentially pitting worker against worker in both the national and international context is, in the early 21st century, an anachronism. Workplace organizing and the environmental agenda are inextricably linked. For the planet to stand any chance of sustaining human life, especially human life with all the technical advances it has made, sustainability in the long term is now a matter of urgency.

Step up then a little known union that has addressed these issues. This union is called the Industrial Workers of the World or International Workers of the World if you prefer.

A United Front Against Climate Catastrophe

By Burkely Hermann - Z Blogs, June 13, 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.

Aggressive militarism continues to emanate from the office of the presidency and the US government itself. With drone strikes in foreign countries, an “empire of drone bases” in Africa as the Washington Post once called it, and a continuing war in Afghanistan, you would think that there would be mass protests on the streets against these injustices. Instead, there have been noble and honorable protests against drones, the war in Afghanistan, Bush era war criminals, and so on, but they have been too limited. At the same time, protests calling for the coming climate catastrophe to be adequately addressed have been growing among indigenous people and concerned citizens in both the Global North and the Global South. This is despite a laser focus of the big environmental organizations, Gang Green, on stopping Keystone XL but not a focus on many other issues. This article outlines why the peace movement[1] and the environmental movement within the United States should join together as a united front against corporate power and global neoliberal capitalism.

Rank-and-File Environmentalism

By Trish Kahle - Jacobin, June 11, 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.

The “jobs versus environment” debate is often seen as a fundamental division between labor and environmentalists, most recently emerging in the fight over the Keystone XL pipeline. Despite dire warnings from scientists about its potentially disastrous environmental impact, the pipeline was endorsed by the AFL-CIO, which justified its decision by citing “job creation.” Estimates range from 5,000-9,000 temporary positions — a drop in the bucket compared to the more than 794,000 unemployed construction workers in the US — and a mere 35 permanent jobs.

Is there any kind of environmental degradation, environmental activists might wonder, unions won’t endorse to secure a small handful of construction jobs?

Jeremy Brecher is right to point in a recent piece to the need for the labor and environmental movements to “evolve toward a common program and a common vision.” To do so, we’ll need to break down the false “jobs versus environment” dichotomy created by capital to obscure the fact that the exploitation of workers and the degradation of the environment go hand in hand.

Noting the common source of workers’ exploitation and ecological degradation is important because it also points us to a solution. Workers are the ones who can halt the assault on the planet.

Capital Blight - Aristocracy Forever

By x344543 - June 12, 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.

When the union leaders' payoffs by the bosses has begun,
There will be no labor trouble anywhere beneath the sun,
For the AFL trade unions and the management are one,
The union keeps us down.

Chorus
Aristocracy forever,
Aristocracy forever,
Aristocracy forever,

--lyrics excerpted from Aristocracy Forever, by Judi Bari

It happens far too often. Big corporate industrial polluters rape and pillage the Earth, whether by tar sands mining, fracking, mountaintop coal mining, offshore oil drilling, clearcut logging, and more. What's more, much of what they extract they export elsewhere, choosing to remove even the economic benefits of local production from the affected community. These corporations claim to be "good neighbors", but they suck up all the wealth (in the form of profits), and they outsource the costs to the community. And the workers who actually do the labor to produce all of this wealth? Not only are they not paid the full value of their labor, they're often the first to bear the brunt of the toxic pollution and chemical poisoning these companies create in their wake.

It's no wonder that time and time again we witness communities organizing and mobilizing opposition to this state of affairs, often assisted by environmental organizations of various types. What's curious, however, is how often the unions (if the workers in these facilities are fortunate enough to have union representation) defend the companies and even promote the companies' messages--even though it's ultimately not in the workers' interest to do so.

Casey Jones in #LacMegantic

Video and Song by J.P. Wright - Railroad Workers United, June 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. J.P. Wright is a member of the IWW and Railroad Workers United.

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