By Mike Treen, national director of the Unite union (New Zealand) December 2, 2013 -- Daily Blog, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- The continuing pretense that world governments will do anything about climate change was exposed once more at the latest round of climate negotiations held in Poland November 11-22. This was the 19th round of annual negotiations. It is 21 years since the Earth Summit in Rio in 1992. Emissions are 60-70% higher than they were then. Global warming has proceeded at an accelerating pace.
When Anthony Goytia sits down with his wife and three children for Thanksgiving dinner in East Los Angeles, he's going to be chewing out of one side of his mouth. With every bite he takes of his meal, provided by a local food pantry, he will be thinking of his employer. Anthony makes about $12,000 a year working nearly full-time as an “associate” for Walmart. With worldwide revenues totaling $443.9 billion in 2012, Walmart tops the Fortune 500 list, yet Anthony can't afford the $20-a-month premiums on the insurance plan Walmart provides.
With an election coming this spring, environmental groups, unions and other provincial organizations are pushing to get the issue of climate change on the political agenda. Judging by what happened during the U.S. presidential election, that is going to be a challenge, says Marc Lee, co-director of the Climate Justice Project, which is run by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. But he and a lot of others think it can be done. More than 50 organizations – including the BC Teachers’ Federation, Pembina Institute, Union of B.C.
One would have hoped that Canada's newest and largest private sector union – UNIFOR, made up of the former Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) and Communications, Energy and Paperworkers (CEP) unions – would have been out front in the growing movement against Enbridge's Line 9 pipeline reversal. This key new organization of Canada's working-class needs to join First Nations, environmental activists, young people, Occupy veterans, other unionists and working people in communities across Ontario in organizing to demand that Line 9 be stopped.
Rabble.ca published an article earlier this week by Toronto writer and climate activist Jesse McLlaren that looks ahead to next week's convention of the Ontario Federation of Labour and an anticipated debate over the proposed ‘reversal’ of the Line 9 pipeline in the province. Enbridge Inc wants the line to carry Alberta tar sands bitumen to refineries in Montreal and possibly to the Atlantic coast and export markets. Presently, the line runs across southern Ontario, including through the city of Toronto.
Unifor, Canada's largest energy union, is calling for a Canada-wide moratorium on all new oil and gas fracking. Already the provinces of Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador have introduced moratoriums on fracking. Nova Scotia has banned fracking while undertaking a review. Unifor is now pushing for a national moratorium. Unifor is raising concerns about the safety and environmental risks associated with fracking as well as the lack of informed consent by First Nations about fracking activities on traditional lands.
VICTORIA -- Some of British Columbia's most powerful labour leaders are pledging to work with Premier Christy Clark's Liberal government and the energy industry to help thousands of B.C. workers land jobs in what could be the province's multi-billion-dollar liquefied natural gas industry. B.C. Federation of Labour President Jim Sinclair and B.C. Building Trades Council executive director Tom Sigurdson emerged from a closed-door meeting Monday with Clark saying jobs trump politics when it comes to developing and securing B.C.'s LNG opportunity.
Surrounded by about 100 police officers in riot gear and a helicopter circling above, more than 50 Walmart workers and supporters were arrested in downtown Los Angeles Thursday night as they sat in the street protesting what they called the retailer's "poverty wages." Organizers said it was the largest single act of civil disobedience in Walmart's 50-year history. The 54 arrestees, with about 500 protesting Walmart workers, clergy and supporters, demonstrated outside LA's Chinatown Walmart.
Dear Ms. Stewart and supporters of the Communities and Coal Coalition,
The BC Nurses’ Union, which represents over 40,000 licensed, regulated nurses across the province, supports your campaign to stop the proposed expansion of a coal-export terminal at the Fraser Surrey Docks. It is our understanding that local governments and health authorities have not been properly consulted, which is a cause for concern.
As President Obama weighs whether to give the Keystone XL pipeline his approval, climate scientists have warned that the volume of greenhouse gases released by the pipeline could push the planet over a climate tipping point. Proponents of the pipeline — which would pump 900,0000 barrels a day of bitumen crude from Alberta's boreal forests to refineries along the Gulf of Mexico — promise that the economic benefits far out weigh whatever environmental damage ensues.