Beaver County Blue

Progressive Democrats of America – PA 12th CD Chapter

Obama Pledges $600M for Job Training Programs in Oakdale Speech

Posted by carldavidson on April 17, 2014

Obama CCAC

April 16, 2014 — President Barack Obama talks about job training and the workforce of the future during an appearance Wednesday afternoon at the Community College of Allegheny County’s West Hills campus in Oakdale. Obama was joined by Vice President Joe Biden. (Joe Wojcik/Pittsburgh Business Times).

By Paul J. Gough
Pittsburgh Business Times

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden announced $500 million in job training and $100 million in apprenticeship programs Wednesday during a stop at the Community College of Allegheny County in Oakdale.

The programs would help train workers for the high-demand jobs of today and the future in what the president and vice president said would be high-paying, high-benefit employment to get more Americans into the middle class. Neither would require congressional approval, Obama said.

As part of the $500 million program, competitive grants will be offered to community colleges with job-driven training.

Obama said he envisioned skills-based education that "train Americans with the skills employers need, not something that looks good on paper and doesn’t give you a job."

"In today’s economy it’s never been more important to make sure that our folks are trained for the jobs that are there, and for the jobs of the future," Obama said during the speech that was also webcast on WhiteHouse.gov.

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Posted in Economy, unemployment, Youth and students | Leave a Comment »

‘Solidarity Fast’ This Week in Support of UMPC Workers

Posted by carldavidson on April 14, 2014

UPMC workers are organizing a weeklong fast at the doorsteps of Pittsburgh’s largest employer to speak truth to power and show their determination for winning a union and a decent standard of living.  Join Fight Back Pittsburgh as we show our support for these brave workers and stand up to Make it Our UPMC.

Tuesday, April 15 at 6:30pm
UPMC Headquarters (600 Grant Street)


About the UPMC Workers Fast for Our Future
UPMC workers have built an incredible movement to transform our city by transforming UPMC, our largest employer, healthcare provider, landowner and charity.

Our movement has won thousands and thousands of supporters – faith leaders, elected officials, community activists and our coworkers – to the simple idea that everyone who works should do so with respect and dignity, and that everyone who needs care should receive it.
Every day workers and the people of Pittsburgh challenge UPMC to live up to its charitable mission. 

Our fast is also a challenge. It is an act of hope and anticipation, and also a show of strength and determination.  Because UPMC puts profits over people, we have become accustomed to hunger and hardship. When hunger and hardship is experienced in isolation, and outside of a movement for justice, they are just hunger and hardship. Our fast transforms hunger and hardship into a call for justice.  We are putting fasting for ourselves, to test and develop our commitment. We are fasting to call on UPMC to put aside business as usual and work with us to build a better future.

Posted in Organizing, Poverty, trade unions | Leave a Comment »

AFL-CIO’s Trumka Praises Pittsburgh Labor Movements

Posted by carldavidson on April 11, 2014

By Ann Belser

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

April 10, 2014 – Pittsburgh, the cradle of the American union movement, is now nurturing a new generation of union workplaces.

“There’s more organizing drives going on in Pittsburgh than in any other city of the country,” said Richard Trumka, the national president of the AFL-CIO, in Washington, D.C., who came home to Pittsburgh Thursday to address the 41st Constitutional Convention of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO.

Mr. Trumka, a former mine worker who grew up in Nemacolin, Greene County, said in his speech that there are 45,000 people who are in the midst of organizing campaigns at their workplaces in Western Pennsylvania.

In addition to the SEIU campaign targeting health care provider UPMC, there are high-profile campaigns at Duquesne, Robert Morris and Point Park universities. An effort to organize workers at the Rivers Casino is under way, as well.

Part of the change in unionization efforts has been that instead of various unions organizing businesses on their own, unions have come together to help each other.

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Posted in health care, Steelworkers, trade unions | Leave a Comment »

More Reasons for Moving to Clean and Green Energy

Posted by carldavidson on April 5, 2014

Beaver County’s ‘Little Blue Run’ coal ash site to close sooner

Plant owner must contain pollution

By Don Hopey / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

April 3, 2014 – The largest coal ash impoundment in the United States — Little Blue Run in Beaver County — will be closed and capped and mostly contained by its owner three years earlier than the company first proposed, under a new plan announced by the state Department of Environmental Protection Thursday.

The closure plan now requires Akron, Ohio-based FirstEnergy Generation LLC to complete all of the state-required work at the 1,900-acre impoundment by the end of 2028. A December 2012 federal consent order required the company to stop disposing of coal ash by the end of 2016, in part because seepage of pollutants from the unlined impoundment has contaminated groundwater and surface water in the area.

"We want to see it done sooner rather than later," said John Poister, a DEP spokesman. "It’s a big undertaking, but we think that it can be done in a little less time than FirstEnergy wanted, so we pushed for that."

FirstEnergy submitted a closure plan in October 2013 that the DEP said contained more than 160 deficiencies, including a failure to acknowledge arsenic contamination of groundwater around the impoundment.

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Posted in Environment, Green Energy | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

Ohio Senate Republicans Launch Attack On State’s Renewable Energy Law

Posted by carldavidson on April 1, 2014

Will Pennsylvania Be Next in the ALEC Crosshairs?

Despite Fracking, PA has made some progress on renewable energy.

Wind farm in Paulding County, Ohio.

Wind farm in Paulding County, Ohio. CREDIT: Shutterstock

By Matt Kasper

Beaver county Blue via Climate Progress

March 31, 2014 – After multiple failed attempts to roll back Ohio’s clean energy and energy efficiency standards, Republicans in the state senate aren’t giving up, releasing another bill on Friday that takes aim at the law. The measure stems from a previous bill pushed by Sen. Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati), member of the corporate-funded, anti-clean energy group the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Seitz’s legislation, S.B. 58, would have completely repealed the standards but the bill never made it out of the Senate Public Utilities Committee.

Republican leadership took the debate out of Seitz’s hands and drafted new legislation. The proposed bill, S.B. 310, sponsored by Sen. Troy Balderson (R-Zanesville), would freeze the clean energy and energy efficiency standards at 2014 levels while a committee, established by the legislation, studies how much the existing standards cost customers and what the costs would be if the state resumed the standards.

The law establishing Ohio’s renewable energy and energy efficiency standards, S.B. 221, passed both the House and Senate by a wide margin and was signed into law by Gov. Ted Strickland in 2008. The measure requires investor-owned utilities to provide 25 percent of their electricity supply from alternative energy resources by 2025. The definition of alternative energy resources includes clean coal, advanced nuclear power, distributed combined heat and power, and certain solid waste conversion technologies.

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Posted in Environment, Green Energy, Green Jobs | Leave a Comment »

Pittsburgh ‘New Economy’ Gathering a Success, New Projects in the Works

Posted by carldavidson on March 23, 2014

In addition to the account below of the points made by featured speaker Gar Alperovitz, Beaver County’s Carl Davidson joined with Rob Witherell of the United Steel Workers in leading a workshop on the Mondragon Cooperatives in Spain and their growing influence in the US, including cooperative enterprises in Cleveland, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh.

Heard off the Street: Economist touts employee-owned companies

By Len Boselovic

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

March 23, 2014 – Political economist and historian Gar Alperovitz was in Pittsburgh last week, promoting the idea of rebuilding communities through cooperatives, employee-owned companies and other economic models that he believes would create a more democratic, equitable, sustainable economy.

“One of the things about employee-owned companies that people don’t focus on is that they don’t move,” he said. “There’s a lot of reasons why this new model makes economic and political sense.”

Mr. Alperovitz, who was the featured speaker at a three-day event celebrating Pittsburgh’s new economy, said many of the topics discussed during the event can be traced back to Youngstown, Ohio, in September 1977, when Youngstown Sheet and Tube announced it was closing its mill there. The news devastated the Mahoning Valley economy, putting 5,000 steelworkers out of work and marking the start of seismic upheavals that wrought havoc in the Mon Valley and other Rust Belt communities.

“Youngstown faced the problems other cities are facing now,” said Mr. Alperovitz, who was enlisted in an ill-fated attempt by the mill workers to buy their company.

Even though the effort failed, he said, it laid the groundwork for future employee buyouts, cooperatives and other forms of collaborative ownership that are helping to revive communities following the Great Recession.

“All of that is traceable to that fight,” he said.

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Posted in Cooperatives, Economy, Organizing, trade unions, unemployment | Leave a Comment »

Wake up the Neighbors! Bring the Doubters to Get the True Story on Fracking

Posted by carldavidson on March 23, 2014

Triple Divide Gasland PDF 2 flyer Sewickley

Posted in elections | 2 Comments »

Arrogance of Power: Frackers Gagging Susquehanna Citizen From Speaking Out

Posted by carldavidson on March 21, 2014

An Injunction Against the First Amendment

By Walter Brasch

Beaver County Blue via Moderate Voice

March 20, 2014 – Vera Scroggins of Susquehanna County, Pa., will be in court, Monday morning.

This time, she will have lawyers and hundreds of thousands of supporters throughout the country. Representing Scroggins to vacate an injunction limiting her travel will be lawyers from the ACLU and Public Citizen, and a private attorney.

The last time Scroggins appeared in the Common Pleas Court in October, she didn’t have lawyers. That’s because Judge Kenneth W. Seamans refused to grant her a continuance.

When she was served papers to appear in court, it was a Friday. On Monday, she faced four lawyers representing Cabot Oil and Gas Corp., one of the nation’s largest drillers. Seamans told the 63-year-old grandmother and retired nurse’s aide that to grant a continuance would inconvenience three of Cabot’s lawyers who came from Pittsburgh, more than 250 miles away. He also told her she might have to pay travel and other costs for the lawyers if she was successful in getting a continuance.

And so, Cabot presented its case against Scroggins.

The lawyers claimed she blocked access roads to Cabot drilling operations. They claimed she continually trespassed on their property. They claimed she was a danger to the workers.

Scroggins agreed that she used public roads to get to Cabot properties. For five years, Scroggins has led tours of private citizens and government officials to show them what fracking is, and to explain what it is doing to the health and environment.

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Posted in Civil Liberties, Environment, Fracking, Marcellus Shale, Women | Leave a Comment »

Environmentalists Call for Ban on Fracking in Ohio After Earthquakes

Posted by carldavidson on March 19, 2014

Photo: Environmental groups are calling for a ban on fracking in Ohio after a series of small earthquakes erupted near an active fracking site last week.

By Mike Ludwig
Beaver County Blue via Truthout

March 18, 2014 – Ohio regulators ordered the Texas-based firm Hilcorp Energy to shut down its fracking operations in rural northeastern Ohio after five temblors ranging from 2.1 to 3.0 in magnitude were recorded March 10 and March 11 in the area. The US Geological Survey reported that the epicenter of the first and largest quake was directly below a landfill where Hilcorp was fracking. Local residents felt the quakes but did not report any serious damage.

Officials with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), which regulates oil and gas production in the state, said initial data indicated that the earthquakes were not related to drilling wastewater injection wells, which have been linked to small earthquakes in Ohio, Oklahoma and other states. If investigators link the quakes to Hilcorp’s production operations, it would be the first time that the fracking process has directly caused documented earthquakes in Ohio, if not the entire United States.

Fracking involves forcing millions of gallons of water and chemicals into underground wells to break up rock and release oil and natural gas. Wastewater that returns to the surface during the operation often is disposed of in underground injection wells. Ohio has become a popular destination for the waste, and more than 180 injection wells store waste across the state.

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Posted in Environment, Fracking, Marcellus Shale | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

‘New Economy’ Events in Pittsburgh, March 21-22

Posted by carldavidson on March 17, 2014

We Need a New Economy

East End Food Coop is one small piece of the ‘new economy’

By Molly Rush
Post-Gazette Op-Ed

March 17, 2014 – More and more people have come to distrust our economic system. Low wages, job insecurity, underemployment and loss of pensions stress the social fabric. Compounding the effects on our communities is a growing distrust of a political system driven by the power of major financial donors to candidates and officeholders.

The billionaire Koch brothers, for instance, not only have a war chest of $400 million for targeted campaign contributions, but they also manipulate public discourse by underwriting so-called think tanks that justify legislation benefiting Koch investments in extractive industries, petrochemicals and poisonous pesticides.

The Koch brothers are just one powerful vested interest bent on confusing the public about complex political and social challenges. Add the power of banks and mega-corporations to stack the deck against small businesses and families, and you have a collision between the public good and an unsustainable economy. It is no wonder that so many people feel overwhelmed and discouraged.

“What Is to Be Done?”

That is the title of a book by political economist Gar Alperovitz. He is behind what is being called the New Economy, which is taking root around the United States and right here in Western Pennsylvania.

The idea is to develop an economy that gives people a decent livelihood in a thriving community. We already have the makings of a new economy here in Western Pennsylvania due to some creative initiatives now underway.

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Posted in Community, Cooperatives, Economy, Organizing | Leave a Comment »

 
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