Statement of the Vancouver Ecosocialist Group, May 28, 2014
Last month, four leaders of the main construction unions in British Columbia issued a statement in support of the Northern Gateway tar sands pipeline. The statement is signed by the Teamsters, Plumbers, Operating Engineers and Labourers’ unions. The text is enclosed below.
One hundred and one employees from McDonald's outlets across the country -- together with approximately three dozen faith, community and labor leaders -- were arrested protesting at the franchise's annual shareholders meeting in Oak Brook, Illinois, Here's what McDonald's HQ looked like this afternoon:
Think about the last time you got to the top of a mountain one mile high. Now think about descending that distance below the surface of the earth, foot by dark foot, far below all life, light or oxygen. You go down there to dig.
What you’re digging for, deep in the hot, fetid, bowels of the earth, is carbonized life forms, millions of years in the making, turned to a type of rock that ignites and burns; one that your prime minister and energy analysts tell you will help the economic future of your country.
Obama's decision to stage his much-touted energy speech Friday at a northern California Walmart—a company that is one of the most notorious purveyors of wealth inequalities, union-busting, and "greenwashing" in the country—was met with hundreds of protesters from labor and environmental organizations.
Over 30 civil rights, environmental, and labor groups released a statement blasting the choice of venue by a president who has vowed to tackle wealth inequalities and climate change.
Demonstrators in Turkey defied a standing government ban on protests this International Workers Day to voice opposition to Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan's decade-plus rule. There were confrontations between crowds and police on the streets of Istanbul. (See footage of police retreating from protesters below.)
BARACK OBAMA has once again delayed a decision on final approval of the Keystone XL pipeline.
The move, announced quietly on April 18 as Washington was winding down for the Easter weekend, is clearly designed to avoid a contentious issue until after the November elections. "Approving the pipeline before the election would rankle Obama's allies and donors in the environmental community," the Washington Postnoted, "but nixing it could be politically damaging to vulnerable Democrats running this year in conservative-leaning areas."
In an era in which our political system is dominated by plutocracy, grassroots social movements are essential for progressive change. But too often our movements find themselves at loggerheads over the seemingly conflicting need to preserve our environment and the need for jobs and economic development. How can we find common ground?
Chrysler Corporation announced last month that it plans to invest $3.5 billion to retool its assembly plants in Windsor and Brampton, Ontario and produce new lines of vehicles. But it set two big conditions—that the federal and Ontario governments provide $700 million in subsidies, and that the union of assembly line employees, Unifor, accept wage concessions, notably lower salaries for new hires. Unifor and the two levels of government agreed to the subsidy demand. We believe this a wrong choice for society, including for autoworkers.
Cutting greenhouse gas emissions will throw millions of people out of work! That claim has made many working people reluctant to support action to slow climate change. But is it true?
A report written in 2011 by Jonathan Neale for the European Transport Workers Federation argues the opposite, that changing the ways that goods and people are moved can reduce emissions from the transport sector by 80% while creating over 12 million new jobs – 7 million in transportation and 5 million in renewable energy.