Strikers at Tesoro, Martinez, refinery. Feb 12, 2015. Credit: Contra Costa Times.
The same economic system that damages the environment through climate change, destruction of biodiversity, and poisoning of the web of life, also exploits those who do the work from which the controllers of the capitalist system profit.
Just as it threatens life on Earth, the profit motive threatens the health and safety of workers. Accordingly, the labor movement and the environmental movement are natural allies. But the employing class seeks to keep us divided by pitting one against the other misinformation and propaganda. The Sunflower Alliance opposes the divide-and-conquer tactics of bosses.
The transition away from our destructive economy must be answered by the creation of millions of sustainable jobs to support displaced workers. That transition spotlights the question of power: Whose interests is society organized to serve? We answer that it must be organized democratically to serve the needs of working people.
In the past year, the Sunflower Alliance has joined the Steelworkers Union of oil refinery workers in their pickets against Tesoro, in Martinez, to demand better working conditions and improved safety policies. We helped organize a summit of union railroad workers and climate justice activists, finding common ground on issues of rail safety and in our opposition to “bomb trains.” Several of our members are dues-paying union members in the IWW, ILWU, SEIU, teachers’ unions, and other unions.
We support the historic Wobbly (IWW) slogan, “An Injury to One is an Injury to All!” (And that goes for members of non-human species as well.)
For more information or to get involved, please contact Jason, at soncalenda (at) gmail.com.
Coal Supply Chains (PDF), presentation by Gifford Hartman, June 2015.