The old argument that unions must choose between jobs and the environment is losing its grip, as climate change becomes more evident and more urgent. More unions than ever have signed up to join environmentalists for a demonstration in Washington, D.C. against the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline on Sunday.
Declining domestic demand (due to cheaper natural gas and stiffer regulations) and heavy opposition to coal exports on the U.S. West Coast have increased pressure to export American thermal coal through Metro Vancouver ports. Those proposals have faced stiff opposition north of the border too -- but not from some unions. Recently the ILWU, U.S.W, IUOE and the BC Building Trades co-authored an op-ed that was critical of Metro Vancouver community, local government and health authority concerns about potential risks posed by plans to export up to eight million tonnes per year of U.S.
ILWU Canada President Mark Gordienko announced December 20 on the waterfront union's website and in the mainstream media the offer of a "$2,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of masked intruders who violently occupied Port Metro Vancouver’s office on Mon
For those of us in the labour movement, tis the season to ponder what good our unions can do in the upcoming year and to renew our commitment to a key principle: What we desire for ourselves we wish for all. At this time of year, while many of us focus on gifts, it is easy to desire the latest gadget, that new car or even a remodelled bathroom. But, most of us would agree, in the grand scheme of human priorities, certain fundamentals are more important than simply acquiring more things.
This is to specifically address class struggle as it relates to the ecological crisis. It will not address all the other (many!) reasons that working class struggle must be waged and supported.First, we must recognize the fact that global capitalism is driving ecocide. The problem reaches much farther back than capitalism itself. The combination of an early gendered division of labor with the adoption of agriculture and corresponding formation of permanent settlements set the stage for class divisions and the private accumulation of surplus wealth.
VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) - More allies are forming to fight against the Northern Gateway Pipeline project. A solidarity accord has now been launched, and it is being backed by some heavy hitters. The BCTF, Unifor, the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment are all on board. More than 130 First Nations have signed the ‘Save the Fraser’ declaration. Jim Dehart wit the BC Wilderness Tourism Association also maintains the project is simply too dangerous. “We feel a risk to our environment, to our homes and to our businesses is unacceptable.
On December 3, the Vancouver Ecosocialist Group put on an event, "Strategies to Fight Climate Change." We are republishing the speech by VEG member Gene McGuckin. A report on the event and links to videos of all the speakers' talks is online here -- NSW I thank the speakers before me for their valuable contributions – in actions as well as words -- to the discussion at hand. So, what does an eco-socialist perspective add to these contributions? We all start in the same place, of course.
Canada’s largest private-sector union has thrown its support behind First Nations in opposing the Northern Gateway pipeline project, vowing to hit picket lines in solidarity if the project goes ahead. Unifor, formed on Labour Day weekend with the merger of the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada, now has more than 300,000 members across the country.
Mark Gordienko, Steve Hunt, Brian Cochrane and Tom Sigurdson, Vancouver Sun, November 27, 2013
Our unions’ members are responsible for mining and transporting metallurgical coal from British Columbia to markets overseas. So we welcome the positive Environmental Impact Assessment released Nov. 18 by Port Metro Vancouver on the proposed Fraser Surrey Docks expansion. The study, by experts such as Dr. Leonard Ritter, Professor Emeritus of Toxicology at the University of Guelph’s School of Environmental Sciences, shows that many complaints by environmental groups and others are misinformed or exaggerated.
What is working class culture? This question arose as part of a conversation about convincing members of Canada’s newest union, Unifor, to make saving the planet from climate change a priority. “You’ll run up against working class culture,” said a friend who considers himself an anarchist. “What do you mean?” I responded. “Consumerism. High paying jobs with lots of overtime to buy ever more stuff, two cars, a big house in the suburbs with NASCAR and hockey on the two big screens in the basement, plus Housewives of Vancouver on the TV in the kitchen,” he said.