Scores Of Farm Workers, Activists March On Ben & Jerry’s

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By Wilson Ring for Associated Press – MONTPELIER, Vt. – Scores of dairy farm workers and activists marched Saturday to a Ben & Jerry’s factory to push for better pay and living conditions on farms that provide milk for the ice cream maker that takes pride in its social activism. Protesters said Ben & Jerry’s agreed two years ago to participate in the so-called Milk with Dignity program, but the company and worker representatives have yet to reach an agreement. “We can’t wait any more. We are going to pressure them and see what happens,” said Victor Diaz, a Mexican immigrant now working on a farm in Vergennes. The march that began Saturday morning in Montpelier ended mid-afternoon at the plant in Waterbury, about 14 miles away. Organized Will Lambek said the marchers presented a letter to company CEO Jostein Solheim who said the company was committed to joining the program.

Indonesia: 4,220 Striking Miners Fired

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By Staff of Act Now! – In partnership with IndustriALL which represents 50 million workers in 140 countries in the mining, energy and manufacturing sectors and is a force in global solidarity taking up the fight for better working conditions and trade union rights around the world. Over 4,220 Indonesian workers have been fired for striking, and the Indonesian government must ensure the workers are reinstated. US company Freeport-McMoRan has fired 3,000 workers over the last month at the massive Grasberg copper and gold mine in West Papua. The firing violates the workers fundamental rights, the collective bargaining agreement and Indonesian law. The workers had struck in protest against the company’s unilateral decision to put them on long-term leave of absence related to a dispute between Freeport and the Indonesian government. The conflict has spread to Java, where over 300 workers have been fired at a joint venture between Freeport and Mitsubishi known as PT Smelting, which processes copper from Grasberg. The Indonesian government cannot allow Freeport and Mitsubishi to abuse workers in this way. The volatile situation could result in an outbreak of violence that would be difficult to contain.

Veteran Organizer Gives Inside Look At The First $15 Minimum Wage Campaign

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By Jonathan Timm for In These Times – Back in 2011, as the Occupy Wall Street movement was still spreading through the country, a smaller standoff was unfolding at Sea-Tac, the international airport in the small, eponymous town between Seattle and Tacoma that serves both cities. Along with some of her coworkers, Zainab Aweis, a Somali Muslim shuttle driver for Hertz car rental, was on her way to take a break for prayer, when her manager stepped in front of the doorway. “If you guys pray, you go home,” the manager said. As devout Muslims, Aweis and her fellow staff were dedicated to praying five times a day. Because it only takes a few minutes, their employer had previously treated the prayers like smoke breaks—nothing to worry about. Suddenly, the workers were forced to choose between their faith and their jobs. “I like the job,” Aweis thought, “but if I can’t pray, I don’t see the benefit.” As she and others continued to pray, managers started suspending each Muslim worker who prayed on the clock, totaling 34. The ensuing battle marked a flashpoint in what would eventually be the first successful $15 minimum wage campaign in the country. The story of these Hertz workers, and the many others who came together to improve their working conditions, is recounted in Beyond $15…

U.S. Renewable Energy Jobs Employ 800,000+ People And Rising: In Charts

China leads the world in renewable energy jobs. In the U.S., solar and wind industry employment has skyrocketed in recent years, but now the Trump administration is trying to stop it. Credit: Kevin Grayer/Getty

By Paul Horn for Inside Climate News – Renewable energy jobs are growing around the globe as prices fall and interest in clean power rises. Worldwide, 9.8 million people are now employed in the renewable energy industry, including 3 million in the booming photovoltaic solar sector, up 12 percent from just a year ago, a new study shows. The United States has seen explosive growth in renewable energy jobs over the past three years, led by solar jobs (up 82 percent) and wind jobs (up 100 percent), according to new numbers released by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). Each year, IRENA counts employment in renewable energy by technology and country, including in energy generation, related construction, manufacturing of renewable energy equipment and maintenance. The numbers tell the story. In 2016, solar was creating U.S. jobs at 17 times the rate of the national economy, rising to more than 260,000 jobs in the U.S. solar industry today. In the U.S. wind industry, now with over 100,000 jobs, a new wind turbine went up every 2.4 hours this past quarter. One driver of this rush to build out solar and wind capacity over the past few years was the expected expiration of key federal tax credits, which were ultimately renewed but with a phase-out over time for wind and solar.

Folsom Prisoners Declare Hunger Strike, Mainstream Media Silent

From liberationnews.org

By Staff of PSL – Folsom State Prison, also known as Old Folsom, is the second oldest state prison in California, behind San Quentin, and is highly recognized as one of the first maximum security prisons. Folsom State Prison is also known for the executions of over 90 inmates over the course of 20 years in addition to being where former Black Panther, Eldridge Cleaver, was held for a short period. The decades of oppression behind bars has never failed to produce resistance by those most affected. This most recent hunger strike was declared in response to the harsh conditions that prisoners in Administrative Segregation Units are facing. Prisoners are given food without plates or bowls and they’re not given any cups to drink water from thus being forced to eat from plastic bags and drink from old milk cartons. Mail is withheld from prisoners for months without any explanation. The prison refuses to provide them with basic rehabilitation programs or even cleaning supplies for their cells. Prisoners have reached out to multiple people and have received no response or help for the conditions that they are forced to live with on a day to day basis.

Noose Discovery At Port Of Oakland Prompts Longshoremen Walk-Out

Trucks are lined up along the length of Middle Harbor Road due to a work stoppage at the SSA terminal at the Port of Oakland in Oakland, Calif., on Thursday, May 25, 2017. (Laura A. Oda/Bay Area News Group)

By HARRY HARRIS for OAKLAND — Operations at one of the Port of Oakland’s largest terminals were suspended for several hours Thursday when longshoremen walked off the job in response to nooses found on the property in recent weeks. They returned to work Thursday afternoon after negotiations and normal operations resumed, officials said. The longshoremen at the Oakland International Container Terminal left about 9 a.m., an hour after they had started for the day, under the order of union officials, officials said. By late morning, about 100 union longshoremen at the terminal, 1717 Middle Harbor Road, were on standby waiting to hear if they would return to work. Container trucks were backed up all around the port and on Interstate 880. Officials with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union were working to obtain surveillance tape that could reveal who is responsible for the nooses. Arbitration on whether the union members will get paid for their time during the walkout was under way.

9.8 Million People Employed By Renewable Energy

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By Anmar Frangoul for CNBC – Nearly 10 million people were employed in the renewable energy sector last year, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) said on Wednesday. IRENA’s report, Renewable Energy and Jobs – Annual Review 2017,states that global renewable energy employment in 2016, excluding large hydropower, hit 8.3 million. If direct employment in large hydropower is included, that figure climbs to 9.8 million. “Falling costs and enabling policies have steadily driven up investment and employment in renewable energy worldwide since IRENA’s first annual assessment in 2012, when just over seven million people were working in the sector,” Adnan Z. Amin, IRENA’s director-general, said in a statement. “In the last four years, for instance, the number of jobs in the solar and wind sectors combined has more than doubled,” Amin added. The report showed that solar photovoltaic was the biggest employer last year, accounting for 3.1 million jobs, up 12 percent compared to 2015. The wind sector represented 1.2 million jobs, while biofuels were responsible for 1.7 million jobs. Amin went on to state that the potential for renewable jobs was significant.

Imminent Strike By AT&T Workers

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By Communications Workers of America. CWA members at AT&T Mobility put the company on notice to come up with serious proposals at the bargaining table or face a strike starting sometime on Friday. If AT&T officials refuse to negotiate fairly, AT&T wireless workers in Districts 1, 2-13, 4, 7, and 9 will walk off the job in a three-day strike. In addition, wireline workers in California, Nevada, and Connecticut, and DIRECTV workers in California, may take job action as they continue to bargain. “The clock is ticking for AT&T to make good on its promise to preserve family-supporting jobs. We have made every effort to bargain in good faith with AT&T but have been met with delays and excuses. Our message is clear: fair contract or strike. It’s up to AT&T now,” said CWA District 1 Vice President Dennis Trainor.

May Day Strikes Hit Cities Around The Country

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Protesters in San Francisco denounced President Donald Trump’s plan to build a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico.

By Dave Jamieson , Kate Abbey-Lambertz for Huffington Post. Workers in cities from coast to coast took the day off Monday to hit the streets and protest the Donald Trump administration for what organizers hoped would be the largest May Day demonstration in the U.S. in years. The mass protest ― coordinated by labor, immigration and other progressive groups ― served as another early test of the grassroots momentum against the new White House and its right-wing policies. It came on the heels of a climate march that drew tens of thousands to Washington, D.C., on Saturday. Backers of the May 1 protests saw the day as an ideal opportunity to challenge the Trump administration over its immigration crackdown. The president has promised to ramp up deportations of undocumented workers, strip federal funding from so-called sanctuary cities, and build a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico. Zeferina Perez, a 59-year-old who came from Mexico two decades ago, said she wanted to show that American businesses cannot function without immigrant labor. She said it stung to see her community vilified on the national stage when immigrants were working hard for meager wages and often exploited to begin with. “We need to demonstrate to everyone that immigrants are important to this country,” said Perez.

May Day In The Hood

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By John Reimann for North Star – So, I was walking down the street in my neighborhood, posting these leaflets (English and Spanish) for a May Day event in the neighborhood park. Got my backpack on, my cap to shield the sun, my stapler in hand. I’m starting to think, “what am I doing this for?”, feeling like Don Quixote. Then two young brothers come walking towards me, smoking a joint. I stop them and give them a leaflet. “You know about May Day – international workers’ day?” I ask. After a few words, the one young guy gets going. “We’re the original people, the Hebrews, brought over here. You can call us whatever – Africans, n____s, slaves. We’re the ones who built this country ourselves. Built it from scratch and never got nothing. We’re disrespected…” He talked a bit more on this subject. “As long as nothing is done about it, as long as we don’t get no reparations, nothing is going to change.” I agreed. “Yeah, you know the Three Musketeers?” I said. “Yeah. One for all and all for one,” he said.

Brazil Paralyzed By Nationwide Strike Against Elite Corruption & Impunity

Demonstrators set up a barricade to block an avenue at a bus station during a protest in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Friday, April 28, 2017. Public transport largely came to a halt across much of Brazil on Friday and protesters blocked roads and scuffled with police as part of a general strike to protest proposed changes to labor laws and the pension system. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo) - See more at: http://twincitiesbusinessradio.com/news/business/general-transportation-strike-brings-much-of-brazil-to-halt#sthash.EKlnkcu0.dpuf

By Glenn Greenwald for the Intercept. It’s almost impossible to imagine a presidency imploding more completely and rapidly than the unelected one imposed by elites on the Brazilian population in the wake of Dilma’s impeachment. The disgust validly generated by all of these failures finally exploded this week. A nationwide strike, and tumultuous protests in numerous cities, today has paralyzed much of the country, shutting roads, airports and schools. It is the largest strike to hit Brazil in at least two decades. The protests were largely peaceful, but some random violence emerged. The proximate cause of the anger is a set of “reforms” that the Temer government is ushering in that will limit the rights of workers, raise their retirement age by several years, and cut various pension and social security benefits. These austerity measures are being imposed at a time of great suffering, with the unemployment rate rising dramatically and social improvements of the last decade, which raised millions of people out of poverty, unravelling. As the New York Times put it today: “The strike revealed deep fissures in Brazilian society over Mr. Temer’s government and its policies.”

Let’s Face It: The Coal Industry Is a Job Killer

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By Basav Sen for Other Words – Wind and solar could create many, many more jobs than coal — especially if the government stops propping it up. When Donald Trump announced he was rolling back the Obama administration’s signature climate rules this spring, he invited coal miners to share the limelight with him. He promised this would end the so-called “war on coal” and bring mining jobs back to coal country. He was dead wrong on both counts. Trump has blamed the prior administration’s Clean Power Plan for the loss of coal jobs. But there’s an obvious problem with this claim: The plan hasn’t even gone into effect! Repealing it will do nothing to reverse the worldwide economic and technological forces driving the decline of the coal industry. And the problem is global. As concern rises over carbon dioxide, more and more countries are turning away from coal. U.S. coal exports are down, and coal plant construction is slowing the world over — even as renewables become cheaper and more widespread. To really bring back coal jobs, Trump would have to wish these trends away — along with technological automation and natural gas, which have taken a much bigger bite out of coal jobs than any regulation.

Single Payer Good For Business & Job Creation

Single payer protest in NYC by Occupy

By Sheila Suess Kennedy for IBJ – The fight over the GOP’s health care bill was the latest iteration of a recurring debate between free market true believers and people who understand that market exchanges require a willing buyer and willing seller, both of whom possess all information relevant to the transaction. For rather obvious reasons, that doesn’t describe health care. Proponents of single-payer systems routinely point out that countries having such systems pay less for better health outcomes but seldom explain how our system disadvantages American business. The largest single drag on job creation and entrepreneurial activity in the U.S. is the cost of providing insurance.

Trump Repeals Regulation Protecting Workers From Wage Theft

KEVIN LAMARQUE / REUTERS

By Dave Jamieson for The Huffington Post – WASHINGTON ― Companies that commit wage theft and put their workers in harm’s way just received a favor from the Trump administration. President Donald Trump signed a bill Monday repealing a regulation that had encouraged federal contractors to follow labor laws. Under the Obama-era rule, companies with an egregious record of violating wage and safety laws would lose their government contracts if they didn’t come into compliance. The idea behind the rule was to make sure unscrupulous employers didn’t receive taxpayer dollars. But Republicans in Congress thought the rule was too punitive and unfair to businesses…

Making May Day A Day For Solidarity

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By Nicole Colson for Socialist Worker – The Women’s Marches held the day after he took office were the largest single day of demonstrations in U.S. history. Thousands of people participated in a new form of protest–the airport occupation–in response to his Muslim ban. There are two major environmental justice mobilizations coming up in in April. And now, with the Trump regime ramping up deportations and raids across the country, immigrant rights activists and organizations are joining with labor and other forces to turn this year’s May Day into a show of solidarity and struggle against Trump’s agenda. The urgency of making a stand is clear after the White House shifted the deportation machine into high gear.