Like a spear thrusting into the Gulf of Mexico’s gut, the Isle de Jean Charles is turbulent with ruinous daily oil and gas accidents, rising sea levels, and tropical storms. Homes on the Isle de Jean Charles perch on delicate wooden stilts thirteen feet high, their paint peeling in the sun. A solitary road snakes down the spine of the shrinking island. Stained American flags billow slowly in the Gulf breeze, affixed to porches where one can catch the nasal tones of plaid-clad men bantering in Cajun French.
On Tuesday, June 4, at 2 p.m. Pacific Time, three judges of the Ninth Circuit will hear arguments by the Trump Administration seeking to stop the Juliana v. United States lawsuit brought by a group of young people claiming a constitutional right to "a climate system capable of sustaining human life" and asserting that the United States government is violating that right.
New York,, NY – Shut. It. Down. Amalgamated Transit Union VP Bruce Hamilton, this weekend, urged U.S. trade unionists to “learn from our past” and start building towards a general strike in a last ditch effort to avert climate disaster.
“What we need to understand is that climate struggle is class struggle,” Hamilton told the NY Labor History Association’s Annual Spring Conference at NYU on Saturday. “Workers really do want to engage in radical action with a clear chance of making their lives better.”
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s landmark October 2018 report declared that preventing runaway global warming will require “far-reaching transitions in energy, land … and industrial systems” for which there is “no documented historic precedent.” Oxford University climate scientist and report author Myles Allen explained, “It’s telling us we need to … turn the world economy on a dime.”
Ashley is correct that addressing the climate crisis requires a radical transformation of the economic system, including more state-led planning. However, insisting that we must immediately end economic growth, let alone capitalism, is a political dead end. Fortunately, a green transformation can coincide with sustainable, egalitarian growth.
Union contract negotiations include mandatory and permissive subjects of bargaining. Employers are required by law to negotiate over mandatory subjects—wages, benefits and working conditions. Permissive subjects, such as decisions about which public services will be provided and how, have historically been the purview of management. We only negotiate over how managerial decisions affect members’ jobs. Employers may voluntarily agree to negotiate permissive subjects, but unions can’t legally strike over them.