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Just transition

The GKN Workers’ Fight Continues

On 9 July 2021, Melrose Industries announced the closure of its GKN Driveline (formerly FIAT) factory, which produces car axles in Campi di Bisenzio, Florence, and the layoff of more than 400 workers. While in many cases the workers and unions would settle for negotiating enhanced redundancy benefits, the GKN Factory Collective took over the plants and kickstarted a long struggle against decommissioning. However, what makes the Ex GKN Florence dispute really unique is the strategy adopted by the workers.

This Emerging Green Technology Could Decarbonize Buildings

In early 2021, an award-winning design for a ​“thermal energy network” caught the eye of John Murphy. The design was part of a proposal to decarbonize Empire Plaza in Albany, N.Y., and it featured a series of underground water pipes that balanced the heating and cooling systems of adjacent buildings. As the International Representative of the New York State Pipe Trades Association, which represents around 25,000 workers across New York State, Murphy had been searching for an renewable energy solution for his members. In his seven years in the position, he has seen how some of the state’s current approaches to the clean energy transition — namely closing power plants without providing alternate jobs — have often left his members unemployed.

Working For Climate Justice: Report Urges Unions To Lead Transition

Ahead of COP28 the UN warns that the world is facing ‘hellish’3C of climate heating, and with European lawmakers urging COP28 climate summit to take aim at fossil fuels, a new report published today from the Centre for Climate Crime and Climate Justice and Institute of Employment Rights, reveals why trade unions need to put climate bargaining at the centre of everything they do and maps out the steps that must be taken to achieve this. The report, ‘Working for Climate Justice: Trade unions in the front line against climate change’ asserts that until now, the trade union movement has failed to make climate change a core concern of their bargaining agendas.

Aberdeen Community To Lose Last Green Space In Energy Transition Land-Grab

On Wednesday 9 August, campaigners from Climate Camp Scotland, This is Rigged, and Scot.E3 demonstrated outside the headquarters of Ironside Farrar in Edinburgh. Campaigners held the peaceful demonstration in solidarity with residents of Torry, Aberdeen. Torry is to be the site of a large-scale industrial development that threatens a precious local park and wetland. The project developer has commissioned Ironside Farrar to produce a master plan for the site. The coalition of climate groups and energy workers were protesting the advancing implementation of Scotland’s so-called Energy Transition Zone (ETZ).

A Just Transition To A New, Greener Life

My blood is as black as coal. We’re all miners in my family: niece, daughter, granddaughter, sister, cousin, wife, mother... It’s not like I was born with a piece of coal in my hand, but almost, like everybody else in these parts. When the coal mine shut down, it was a total disaster. There was no work. Young people started to leave, the villages became desolate, businesses closed. You carry those roots deep inside you. We are a different kind of people. We see things from a different perspective. You get used to living with fear. You make it your ally. When I was little I saw how nervous my  mother was for my father. Later I was the same when my husband and my son also went down the mines.

Battery Jobs Must Be Good-Paying Union Jobs, Says New UAW President

Contracts covering 150,000 auto workers at the Big 3 will expire on September 14, and the new leadership of the United Auto Workers is taking a more aggressive stance than in years past. “We’re going to launch our biggest contract campaign ever in our history,” UAW President Shawn Fain told members in a Facebook live video. Fain took office in March after winning the union’s first one member, one vote election. Running on the slogan, “No Corruption, No Concessions, No Tiers,” he and the Members United slate swept all the positions they ran for, giving reformers a majority on the international executive board.

Whose Green Transition? Ours!

Huge changes are coming for our workplaces, quick as a heat wave. This month Joe Biden inked new rules to make all-electrics the majority of new cars sold in America within a decade. To charge all those batteries, many of the largest states are pushing to power their grids with two-thirds clean energy by the same deadline. These green shifts have put billion-dollar signs in the eyes of bosses. Public cash is pouring out to subsidize cleaner manufacturing and energy. Corporations aim to cash in double by cutting unions out.

From Crisis To Transformation

We are living through an age of profound transition. Political upheaval is the order of the day. Economic inequality is rising. People around the globe are being displaced by conflict and climate emergencies. Racism, xenophobia, and religious intolerance are on the rise. The COVID-19 pandemic cast new light on the injustices and irrationality of our current economic and social systems. The crises we face today are social and political, but they go deeper. The life giving systems of the earth are under threat as a result of the system of production which has been foisted upon the world over the last 250 years. Fuelled by petrochemicals, driven by profit, and based on the hyper-exploitation of both workers and natural systems, this mode of production has overtaxed and disrupted many of the cycles that kept the global ecosystem in balance — including carbon cycles.

Coal Workers In Australia Are Taking Their Destiny Into Their Own Hands

The coal industry is to Australia what the Second Amendment of the US Constitution (granting citizens the right to bear arms) is to the United States: it would be hard to imagine the country without it. With fossil fuels still accounting for 92 per cent of Australia’s energy mix, including 29 per cent for coal in 2021, the industry is still vigorously defended by lobbies, even in parliamentary circles and the corridors of ministries. Australia’s conservative former prime minister Scott Morrison famously held up a piece of coal in Parliament in 2017, when he was finance minister, admonishing his colleagues not to be afraid of it. When he became prime minister, he also directly surrounded himself with lobbyists like John Kunkel, former vice-chairman of the Minerals Council of Australia, who he appointed chief of staff in 2018.

From Crisis To Transformation: What Is Just Transition? A Primer

We Are Living Through An Age Of Profound Transition. Political Upheaval Is The Order Of The Day. Economic Inequality Is Rising. People Around The Globe Are Being Displaced By Conflict And Climate Emergencies. Racism, Xenophobia, And Religious Intolerance Are On The Rise. The COVID-19 Pandemic Cast New Light On The Injustices And Irrationality Of Our Current Economic And Social Systems. The Crises We Face Today Are Social And Political, But They Go Deeper. The Life Gi- Ving Systems Of The Earth Are Under Threat As A Result Of The System Of Production Which Has Been Foisted Upon The World Over The Last 250 Years. Fuelled By Petrochemicals, Driven By Profit, And Based On The Hyper-Exploitation Of Both Workers And Natural Systems, This Mode Of Production Has Overtaxed And Disrupted Many Of The Cycles That Kept The Global Ecosystem In Balance — Including Carbon Cycles.

Unions Making A Green New Deal From Below

Somerville, MA is an inner suburb of Boston and the most densely populated city in New England with 81,000 residents. It was long an industrial center inhabited by repeated waves of immigrants, but it has increasingly become a bedroom community for Boston and Cambridge. Somerville is currently being transformed by the extension of the Boston Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) subway system’s Green Line throughout the city, bringing transit access to 80% of Somerville residents. Over five million square feet of new development is in the works. Somerville’s long-term mayor supported development but not union labor for either city employees or for construction, much of which, to the dismay of building trades unions, was done non-union.

As Illinois Coal Jobs Disappear, Some Are Looking To The Sun

Matt Reuscher was laid off a decade ago from Peabody Energy’s Gateway coal mine in Southern Illinois, in the midst of a drought that made the water needed to wash the coal too scarce and caused production to drop, as he remembers it. Reuscher’s grandfather and two uncles had been miners, and his father — a machinist — did much work with the mines. Like many young men in Southern Illinois, it was a natural career choice for Reuscher. Still in his early 20s when he was laid off, Reuscher “spent that summer doing odds and ends, not really finding much of anything I enjoyed doing as much as being underground.” By fall of 2012, he started working installing solar panels for StraightUp Solar, one of very few solar companies operating in the heart of Illinois coal country. He heard about the job through a family friend and figured he’d give it a try since he had a construction background. He immediately loved the work, and he’s become an evangelist for the clean energy shift happening nationwide, if more slowly in Southern Illinois. With colleagues, he fundraised to install solar panels in tiny villages on the Miskito Coast of Nicaragua, and he became a solar electrician and worked on StraightUp Solar installations powering the wastewater treatment center and civic center in Carbondale, Illinois — a town named for coal.

Nuclear Weapons: The Case For Creating A Citizen’s Commission

There is currently heightened concern about nuclear threats being made in relation  to the war in Ukraine, although the danger of nuclear war or accidental detonation is  ever present. Massachusetts is a potential target, because it is home to important  nuclear weapons facilities and corporations as well as culturally significant  landmarks.   The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons entered into force as international  law in January 2021. This “Nuclear Ban Treaty” is intended to reduce the nuclear  danger to zero, but enforcing it may also affect jobs with Raytheon, General  Dynamics, Draper Labs and ten other nuclear weapon-producing companies that  have facilities in Massachusetts. The Commission would explore how those jobs  might be converted to green technologies or other important industries. 

Movement Generation Works To Usher In A Sustainable Just Transition

In the mid-2000s, when the documentary featuring former Vice President Al Gore, “An Inconvenient Truth,” first alerted viewers that human activity was drastically altering the environment, and global warming would insidiously thaw the North and South poles and raise the sea levels, urban organizers like Mateo Nube heard the warning loud and clear. Nube quickly banded together with other activists in the San Francisco Bay Area to educate their communities about humanity’s devastating impacts on the environment and what needed to be done to try to abate the eventual irreparable changes by shifting people’s views about the economy, which was contributing to the environmental degradation.

Amid Rolling Blackouts, Energy Workers Fight For Clean Public Power

The lights went out around Johannesburg on a Monday morning in November 2021, not to flicker back on until early that Friday in some areas. It marked the last rolling blackout of a year troubled by more outages than any in recent memory. The fate of Eskom, the beleaguered power utility behind the crisis, is now at the center of South Africa’s struggle for a just energy transition — a break from fossil fuels without leaving behind frontline communities or energy workers. As a public company, Eskom has a constitutional mandate to guarantee electricity as a basic right. But the utility struggles to meet that mandate with its aging equipment, staggering debt, corruption and rules that require it to break even, which drive exorbitant rate hikes.
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