BlueGreen Alliance, Service Employees hit Trump dump of Clean Power Plan. The BlueGreen Alliance and the Service Employees are blasting Republican President Donald Trump for dumping the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, the comprehensive cleanup of the nation’s coal-fired electric power plants, and attorneys general from Illinois, California, Massachusetts and other states vowed to sue Trump to keep the plan going.
Scott Pruitt, Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency administrator, formally announced he would dump the plan on Oct. 9, in a speech in coal country, in Hazard, Ky.
The Clean Power Plan would cut carbon emissions by coal-fired power plants by approximately one-third, compared to 2005 levels, by 2030. The emissions are a key cause of ozone depletion in the atmosphere and global warming.
Pruitt made his name as Oklahoma’s GOP attorney general by suing EPA 12 times to stop its enforcement of clean air rules.
“Americans want comprehensive solutions to address the threat of climate change that puts workers and communities first — something the administration is denying them with these latest efforts to rollback clean energy progress,” responded Kim Glas, executive director of the BlueGreen Alliance, which was co-founded by the Steelworkers and the Sierra Club, and which includes at least seven other unions.
St. Louis police arrest journalists covering protests. St. Louis police indiscriminately arrested reporters while the journalists were covering protests downtown around the acquittal of police officer Jason Stockley in a 2011 shooting of an unarmed African-American man. The News Guild vigorously protested the arrests and the Post-Dispatch’s lawyer sent a strong letter to the mayor and police chief, demanding they issue guidelines for rank-and-file officers to follow and demanding the police preserve all evidence in case of future legal action.
AFGE launches “Save the EPA” drive. Saying massive grass-roots pressure on lawmakers to force them to protect the air we breathe and the water we drink would succeed, the Government Employees (AFGE) and top environmental groups launched a “Save the EPA” campaign.
“The only way you can make sure that” cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency “don’t succeed is because people are screaming loud and clear from one end of the country to the other,” exclaimed U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.). Besides such protests, the pro-EPA coalition’s drive will include a fly-in lobbying visit to lawmakers by thousands of Sierra Club members and phone calls from the estimated 6 million members of the National Wildlife Federation, leaders of those two organizations said. There’s also a website, www.savetheusepa.org, and Facebook and Twitter pages devoted to “Save the EPA.”
AFL-CIO, unions send volunteers to Puerto Rico. Almost 300 volunteers took off from Newark International Airport last month on a union relief mission to hurricane-smashed Puerto Rico. The unionists – including doctors, nurses, electricians, engineers, carpenters and truck drivers – headed for the commonwealth where 3.4 million Americans lack power, food, drinkable water and other resources, weeks after Hurricane Maria hit.
“The working families of Puerto Rico are our brothers and sisters. And this incredible partnership will bring skilled workers to the front lines to deliver supplies, care for victims and rebuild Puerto Rico,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “Our movement is at its best when we work together during times of great need.”
Unions participating in the AFL-CIO flight were AFA-CWA, AFT, ALPA, AFSCME, Boilermakers, Cement Masons, CWA, IBEW, IBT, Ironworkers, IUPAT, Machinists, NNU, OPEIU, Operating Engineers, Plumbers/Pipefitters, SEIU, UAW, USW and Utility Workers.
Labor blasts goal of high court’s Janus case. Union leaders denounced the latest right-wing attempt to deprive workers and unions of funds and property via a Supreme Court case from Illinois the justices agreed to hear as “a blatant attack to rig the economy against workers,” as Laborers President Terry O’Sullivan said.
The case pits dissident state worker Mark Janus against Illinois’ AFSCME. Janus and his backers seek to deny unions and workers resources by declaring all seven million government workers nationwide “free riders.”
That means they wouldn’t have to pay for the basic services, contract coverage and protection from arbitrary discipline and favoritism by bosses that unions provide.
Labor leaders pointed out the case’s real impact: It would cost unions millions of dollars, crippling their ability to fight for workers, union and non-union, and against the corporate and right-wing agenda. “The Janus case is part of a coordinated attack on workers financed by anti-union, anti-worker billionaires and corporate interests whose aim is to destroy unions and make it impossible for working people to join together and protect hard-fought rights and protections,” O’Sullivan said.
University stalling on bargaining: Columbia TAs, RAs. Although Columbia University’s Teaching Assistants and Research Assistants voted overwhelmingly nine months ago to unionize with the Auto Workers, the university’s administration still refuses to recognize and bargain with the union, the students told two U.S. representatives and other officials.
The UAW won the recognition vote, but wasn’t officially declared the victor until the National Labor Relations Board ruled TAs and RAs at private universities are employees who could organize and bargain. That gave a boost to a campaign by several unions, also including the Teachers and the Communications Workers, to organize TAs and RAs – who are notoriously overworked and underpaid and have no job security – at private colleges nationwide.
Single-payer dominates discussion at nurses convention. About 1,000 National Nurses United convention delegates in San Francisco this fall rallied for a single-payer government-run health care. “Here’s what nurses know about the body of our country: Healthy leadership is required to pass healthy legislation, and that makes for a healthy society,” said Bonnie Castillo, RN, the union’s Health and Safety Director in a September speech.
“If our leaders don’t have the political will to fight for healthy legislation — Sen. Bernie Sanders’ Medicare for All Act being a prime example — then we are, as a country, fundamentally unwell. And it’s our duty, as nurses, to facilitate healing.”
News briefs courtesy of The Labor Paper