Disasters foretold: Boeing 737 Max 8 and Lac-Mégantic

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Canada has reportedly still allowed Boeing 737 Max 8s to fly, albeit without passengers after they were grounded almost a year ago. This news emerges despite the fact that crashes involving the plane — Lion Air in Indonesia in October 2018 and, five months later, Ethiopian Airlines in Addis Ababa — killed 346 people, including 18 Canadians. Read the full article here: https://theconversation.com/disasters-foretold-boeing-737-max-8-and-lac-megantic-130760

 

ILO Draws on ACW Research to Promote Worker Engagement in Addressing Climate Change

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International Labour Organization’s World Employment and Social Outlook Report 2018 draws on York Partnership Programme ACW to promote worker engagement in addressing climate change

 

World Employment and Social Outlook 2018: Greening with jobs
World Employment and Social Outlook 2018: Greening with jobs

In its flagship report, World Employment and Social Outlook 2018: Greening with Jobs, released in Geneva this month, the United Nations International Labour Organization (ILO) says that action to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius will result in sufficient job creation to more than offset job losses of 6 million elsewhere. In fact, twenty-four million new jobs will be created globally by 2030 if the right policies to promote a greener economy are put in place.

The ILO’s report devotes a key section to the importance of workers organizations, such as unions, in reducing the harmful impact of climate change, stating that “… the participation of workers’ and employers’ organizations must be integrated in mitigation and adaptation policies.”

The UN agency notes that environmental clauses negotiated into collective agreements can have a positive impact, and draws upon data contained in the unique Green Collective Agreements Database compiled by York University’s Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces to Respond to Climate Change: Canada in International Perspective (ACW) research project.

“Through collective agreements, employers and trade unions have worked together to identify areas, including GHG emissions, where a reduction in environmental impact could be achieved without losses in jobs, pay and working conditions,” it states. The ILO report includes a detailed table of 19 green clauses from collective agreements, grouped into five categories including green procurement, green travel, cutting waste and saving resources, the right to refuse work, and whistle-blower protection.

“I am delighted that our research on worker agency in reducing climate change is being taken up by such a prestigious and influential body as the United Nations International Labour Organization,” said Principal Investigator Dr. Carla Lipsig-Mummé of York University’s Department of Social Science, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies.

York University’s ACW research project is winning increased recognition by international and Canadian institutions. The ILO report is the second time a UN agency has used research produced by the ACW, following the citation of ACW’s work by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) secretariat in 2016.

As well, Dr. Lipsig-Mummé was named finalist for prestigious Impact Award by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) in 2017, and she was the 2018 winner of the Sefton-Williams Award for Contributions to Labour Relations by the University of Toronto’s Woodsworth College and the Centre for Industrial Relations and Human Resources.

The only tripartite U.N. agency, since 1919 the International Labour Organization (ILO) brings together governments, employers and workers of 187 member States, to set labour standards, develop policies and devise programmes promoting decent work for all women and men.

The Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces to Respond to Climate Change: Canada in International Perspective (ACW) research project is a SSHRC-funded partnership grant which brings together 56 individual researchers and 25 partner organizations from seven countries, and is based at York University.

World Employment and Social Outlook 2018: Greening with Jobs, published by the ILO, is available from the ILO website at: http://www.ilo.org/global/about-the-ilo/newsroom/news/WCMS_628644/lang–en/index.htm

 

Download the full report (PDF)

 

Fate of 3,500 coal-power workers, and more, at stake with new ‘just transition’ task force

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The task force will lay out a path to help Canada transition to the new, job-rich low carbon economy.

 

It has been a long time coming. The Trudeau government is poised to launch Canada’s first federal task force on a “just transition” for workers affected by policies intended to mitigate climate change. In this case, it’s the government’s plan to virtually eliminate traditional coal-fired electricity generation by 2030, which may put up to 3,500 coal miners and power workers out of work in several provinces.

The task force announcement comes more than a year after the government declared its intention to phase out coal in November 2016. Since then, coal-dependent communities have been left wondering if they had been forgotten by the federal government, and labour leaders have been calling for action by Ottawa.

Establishing the Just Transition Task Force for Canadian Coal-Power Workers and Communities is more than good policy— it’s good politics.

Policy-wise, the terms of reference released by Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna on Feb. 16 task the nine-member panel and two cochairs with providing knowledge, options, and recommendations to the minister on implementing a just transition for workers and communities directly affected by the accelerated phase-out of coalfired electricity in Canada. The federal budget included $35-million to support those efforts.

Politically, by acknowledging and acting on the need for a just transition for coal miners and power workers, the government is helping to ensure that it continues to generate the social licence required to combat climate change, and to move the country down the challenging path to a low-carbon economy.

Public opinion currently supports climate change-fighting efforts, but if working people are left with greater economic insecurity than before, a backlash could be generated—the same kind of backlash that generated millions of votes south of the border for Donald Trump and his anti-Paris Agreement stance. Nobody wants that.

In affirming this proactive approach, Ms. McKenna acknowledged in a statement that: “We know the environment and the economy go hand in hand, so we’re committed to making that transition a fair one for coal workers and communities.”

Members of the panel will have diverse backgrounds, including workforce development and sustainable development experts, a past executive from a major electricity company or utility, and a municipal representative appointed in consultation with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. The five remaining members will be drawn from labour, including the Canadian Labour Congress, a provincial federation of labour, and three from unions representing affected workers.

It makes sense that there be strong representation from labour.

Unions support the kind of action that links reducing the greenhouse gases that cause climate change, with the growth of jobs that “green” work itself. Active workplace environment committees promote and practise conservation. Unions provide green education programs for their members, and have been on the front lines with allies in the environmental movement demanding positive change. Recently, Canadian and European Union unions have begun exchanging “climate bargaining” clauses when negotiating with employers.

Unions have also been working closely with Canada’s universities to research the best approaches to climate action in the workplace. The Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces to Respond to Climate Change (ACW) project based at York University brings together 56 individual researchers and 25 partner organizations and unions in seven countries, and its ground-breaking research on the idea of “just transition” has been recognized by the secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The world of work is both a major cause of climate change and a potentially powerful actor in slowing global warming. Unions and professional associations are very well placed for adapting work itself in order to mitigate greenhouse gas production.

Despite generating only 11 per cent of Canada’s electricity supply, coal-fired electricity is responsible for 72 per cent of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions from the electricity sector, which is Canada’s third highest greenhouse gas-creating sector after oil and gas, and transportation.

This makes ending coal a good place to start. Achieving a just transition to a low-carbon economy on that scale calls for strategic creativity in repurposing coal communities so that new enterprises are enticed to set up shop in a former coal region, creating a need for new and retrained expertise.

Federal and provincial governments will need to contribute to every phase of these green transitions. It will take some years, but there are already models in Australia, Germany, and elsewhere, for transitioning not only fossilfuel workers but also formerly fossil-fuel communities.

That’s why this important first step will teach us a lot about how we can help workers and communities join the emerging renewable energy boon. The task force will hear from stakeholders from local communities, labour, industry, clean tech, finance, academics, and non-governmental organizations, and will make site visits to a representative number of facilities and communities that will be affected by the coal phase-out.

When the task force makes its recommendation in the fall, let’s be ready to ensure that there is the political support to turn these ideas into action.

Carla Lipsig-Mummé is a professor of work and labour studies at York University, and winner of the 2018 Sefton-Williams Award for Contributions to Labour Relations.
The Hill Times

 

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Carla Lipsig-Mummé named finalist for prestigious Impact Award by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC)

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The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) has named York University’s Professor Carla Lipsig-Mumme as a finalist for its prestigious 2017 Impact Award in the Partnership Category.

Carla Lipsig-Mummé is a Professor of Work and Labour Studies at York University, and the Principal Investigator of the seven-year SSHRC grant titled “Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces to Respond to Climate Change: Canada in International Perspective.”

The Impact Awards finalists embody the very best ideas and research about people, human thought and behaviour, and culture—helping people understand and improve the world around us, today and into the future, according to SSHRC.

Professor Lipsig-Mummé was selected by a jury composed of renowned experts from academia, as well as from the private, public and not-for-profit sectors.

The Partnership Award recognizes a SSHRC-funded formal partnership for its outstanding achievement in advancing research, research training or knowledge mobilization, or developing a new partnership approach to research and/or related activities. It is awarded to a partnership that, through mutual co-operation and shared intellectual leadership and resources, has demonstrated impact and influence within and/or beyond the social sciences and humanities research community.

The two other Partnership category finalists are Professor Carol Kauppi of Laurentian University, and Professor Jack Quarter of the University of Toronto. The winners in each of the 2017 Impact Award categories of Talent, Insight, Connection and Partnership—as well as the Gold Medal recipient—will receive their awards at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on Friday, September 15, 2017.

 

Learn more from www.sshrc-crsh.gc.ca

 

ACW leads conference stream on climate change and labour

 

4-6 April 2017, Sheffield, UK

At the 35th International Labour Process Conference, held in Sheffield, UK, ACW ran a special stream titled “A Volatile Political Economy: Work, Climate Change and Labour: Labour Process Perspectives”. This was for the second year running, last year’s theme at the ILPC conference in Berlin being Labour, Work and Climate Change: a labour process perspective. The stream this year was led by Professor Carla Lipsig-Mummé of York University, Toronto, Canada and Professor Linda Clarke of the University of Westminster, UK, together with Donald Lafleur, Executive Vice-President, Canadian Labour Congress and Dr. Elaine Bernard, Director of Labor and Worklife Program, Harvard Law School, US.

The stream addressed the problematic issue that, though work, worksites and production supply chains are major polluters, the new retreat into defensive nationalism adds to the difficulties of combatting at an international level the global danger we confront. It is vital to re-connect work and political economy, so that the transition to a low carbon economy becomes an international driver for transforming the labour process to the benefit of workers. Bringing workers and unions and work itself ‘in’ to the struggle to slow global warming entails rethinking the labour process through a green lens, and adapting key steps in the chain of production to mitigate greenhouse gases. It entails reconsidering the legal, political and economic contexts that hinder or facilitate workplace low-carbon adaptation, bringing labour and environment law together, criticising work design and current business models for their carbon excesses, and rediscovering the influential roles that workers, their unions and professional associations can play in adapting and improving the labour process. And, finally, it means understanding the ways in which political economies and responses to climate change affect not only the labour process, but union goals, alliances, modes of action, organisation of young workers, political strength and strategic creativity.

Within this framework, papers were presented in four separate sessions over two days by ACW researchers, academics from universities in the UK and further afield, and those from trade union organisations.

The contributions within each themed session included:

Just Transition
• Slow Greening: Climate Literacy and the Labour Movement: Carla Lipsig-Mummé, York University, Canada
• Just Transition in a Neoliberal Context: the contradictions of labour-market policy in post-petro-state Canada: Donald Lafleur and Chris Roberts, Canadian Labour Congress
• Contesting Just Transition: a sufficient challenge to capitalist labour processes? (Ewan Kerr, University of Glasgow)

Energy Provision
• Romance or Chimaera? Industry Policy and Job Quality in European Offshore Wind Turbine Manufacturing: Lisa Shulte, Middlesex University, UK
• Decarbonising the Electricity Grid: the implications for organised labour: Colin Patrick Gleeson, University of Westminster, UK

VET for low energy construction
• Promoting Climate Literacy in British Columbia’s Apprenticeship System: evaluating one union’s efforts to overcome barriers to low carbon construction: John Calvert, Simon Fraser University, Canada
• The Role of Labour and VET in meeting Low Energy Construction Targets, Linda Clarke and Melahat Sahin-Dikmen, University of Westminster

Green Employment
• More and Better Jobs in a Low Carbon Future: provocations and possibilities: Steven Shelley, University of Hertfordshire, UK
• Gamification as Employment Strategy for Greening the Labour Process: Dean Stroud and Claire Evans, Cardiff University, UK
• The Role of Trade Unions in the Transformation towards a Low Carbon Economy: Bela Galgoczi, European Trade Union Institute, Belgium

Lively discussions followed the presentations, highlighting the significance of agency and vision in influencing the nature of the response to climate change and the critical necessity of bringing a labour perspective to bear on green transition approaches and policies by government and non-government organisations and agencies. Presentations were also informative about regional green transition initiatives involving trade unions, with discussions focusing particularly on British Columbia, Canada, the Ruhr region in Germany and Yorkshire and Humberside in the UK. Insights into the practical implementation, consequences and implications of green transitions were given in discussions about work and employment conditions in wind turbine manufacturing, training and skill needs in construction, and energy efficiency regulations in energy-intensive industries.

On the third day, the stream concluded with a panel discussion on ‘Green labour in dark times’, facilitated by responses to an imaginary scenario from 2035, when two major forces co-exist, digitalisation and climate change: can they combine or are they on a collision course? With examples of green transition initiatives from across a number of countries and regions, the possibility and need to allow for different green transitions pathways also came to the fore in the final debate. Above all, the fundamental role trade unions play in representing the interests of labour in what is a hugely complex, uneven and long transition to a green economy was reinforced.

It is intended that some of the contributions given at Sheffield and at last year’s Berlin conference will, together with contributions from ACW and other international researchers be included in two books and a special journal.

Linda Clarke, Carla Lipsig-Mummé and Melahat Sahin-Dikmen
June 2017

Climate: a Union Issue in Canada

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by Martina Frisk

 

When unions and employers negotiate collective agreements, they speak mainly about wages and conditions. But climate change can have a place in the discussions, and even included in the contract clauses,” says Carla Lipsig-Mummé, professor of labour studies at York University, Canada.

 

Read the full article at Arbetet.ca (Swedish)

 

 

 

UNFCCC Taps ACW Project to Assist Intergovernmental Climate Change Negotiations

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Media Release
For immediate release
December 2, 2016

(Toronto, ON) A ground-breaking technical paper on jobs and climate change produced by the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) draws upon unique research produced by a joint labour and research project based at York University.

The UNFCCC report, entitled “Just transition of the workforce, and the creation of decent work and quality jobs,” profiles research produced by the Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces to Respond to Climate Change project (ACW). According to the UN, the secretariat’s paper was prepared to assist nations to move decisively on reducing the greenhouse gasses produced by work and workforces, while creating decent work and quality jobs for a new labour market.

“This important UNFCCC paper breaks new ground in a much trodden field,” said Carla Lipsig-Mummé, Project Director and Principal Investigator of ACW. ‘Just transition’, carbon footprint reduction in the world of work while ensuring that good jobs and decent work are not only retained but expanded, has long been invoked. But achieving just transition has been elusive, requiring as it does a mix of state financial support and regulation, technological advances and work redesign, mobilisation of the social safety net, willingness of employers, an active labour market policy, and the creative engagement of workers and their unions.”

“The UN’s new report will deepen the international community’s understanding of the need to consider the impact of climate policies on workers, and the essential role that labour unions have in combatting climate change,” she said. “I am delighted that our research, produced through a collaboration of academic and organized labour researchers funded by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada, has contributed to intergovernmental climate change negotiations through the UNFCCC,” she added.

Specifically, an innovative database at York University of collective agreements clauses devoted to environmental conservation receives special recognition by the UNFCCC. “As part of the Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces to Respond to Climate Change project, an online database of green collective agreements has been developed from UK, Australian and American as well as Canadian collective agreements. The database includes clauses related to climate change and low-carbon development,” notes the UNFCCC paper.

The UNFCCC technical paper is timely. At a recent meeting of ACW international researchers in Vancouver, concerns about “Just Transition” for workers impacted by climate change mitigation measures were high on the agenda. Participants noted with concern that governments are skirting their obligation to assist workers in the transition to a low-carbon economy.

ACW membership includes 47 individual researchers and 24 partner organizations in 4 countries and the European Union. It is a Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Partnership Program–funded project, based at York University.

– 30 –

Just transition of the workforce, and the creation of decent work and quality jobs, Bonn, Germany: United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Secretariat, 2016. http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2016/tp/07.pdf

 

For more information contact:
Steven Staples, ACW Communication Officer
sstaples@yorku.ca

ACW Members Discuss Alberta Wildfire, Approve New Research Projects at Steering Committee Meeting

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The tragedy of Fort McMurray and the devastation caused by the wildfire was top-of-mind when members of the Steering Committee of the Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces to Respond the Climate Change (ACW) project gathered at York University on May 28.

Members shared concern about the impact on the community, and sought ways that the project’s research might contribute to the rebuilding effort, especially ways that would support climate change mitigation and adaptation using low-carbon construction methods.

“Our research on the need for low-carbon buildings and well-trained construction workers could be essential to policy makers who are seeking way to rebuild Fort McMurray, while also advancing employment opportunities for displaced Albertans,” said Dr. Carla Lipsig-Mummé, Principal Investigator of the ACW project.

In addition to discussing the Alberta tragedy and receiving a briefing from Canadian Labour Congress Executive Vice-President Donald Lafleur, Steering Committee members received briefings about the International Labour Process Conference (ILPC) 2016 that took place in April where many members presented their research.

As well, members learned about the new ACW-W3 book to be published by Marjorie G. Cohen on climate, gender, policy and work in rich countries in paperback as well as hardcover, and considered new opportunities for collaboration between the ACW project and other organizations.

Several exciting events are being planned as well, including public panels in Ottawa and Toronto following the U.S. election in the Fall of 2016, and a major public event in Vancouver linking ACW’s work with the Green Jobs BC conference.

Steering Committee members also funded five new research projects that will be conducted in Canada, the U.K., the U.S., and the E.U by participating researchers and partner institutions. In addition, members endorsed the establishment of a network of Graduate Research Fellows of the ACW project.

Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces to Respond to Climate Change: Canada in International Perspective (ACW) is a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Partnership Program–funded project, based at York University.

Open Your Mind: A Q&A with Carla Lipsig-Mummé

Appearing at regular intervals in YFile, “Open Your Mind” is a series of articles offering insight into the different ways York University professors, researchers and graduate students champion fresh ways of thinking in their research and teaching practices. Their approaches, grounded in a desire to seek the unexpected, are charting new courses for future generations.

Today, the spotlight is on Carla Lipsig-Mummé, the principal investigator of the seven-year SSHRC grant titled “Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces to Respond to Climate Change: Canada in International Perspective”. She was also the principal investigator of the tri-agency research project “What do we know? What do we need to know?” and principal investigator of the CURA research program “Work in a Warming World.”

She is also a professor of work and labour studies in the Department of Social Science, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies.

Read more

 

New seven-year partnership to find ways to improve and adapt the workplace

 

By Shawn Connor, The Vancouver Sun

There has been a lot of work and research focused on the science of climate change. But there hasn’t been much focus on the way in which workers and workplaces will have to change to mitigate and adapt to the impact of climate change, John Calvert says.

The Simon Fraser University health sciences associate professor is part of a major new seven-year research partnership that will identify steps that can be taken to reduce the carbon-footprint in a number of areas of the economy, with a focus on the workplace and workers.

The national project is called Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces to Respond to Climate Change: Canada in International Perspective. The York University-led partnership will receive $2.5 million in funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and more than $2.2 million in matching funding and contributions from partnering organizations. Partners include labour unions and business organizations, government and public sector organizations, think tanks, universities and environmental groups.

Read more

 

SSHRC awards more than $2.5 million in funding to York-led research partnerships

Carla Lipsig-Mummé, professor of work and labour studies in York’s Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, has received more than $2.5 million over seven years through the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Partnership Grants program.

Lipsig-Mummé will lead a project titled “Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces to Respond to Climate Change: Canada in International Perspective”, which investigates how best Canada’s diverse workplaces can adapt work in order to mitigate greenhouse gases. The project will also examine the changes needed in law and policy, work design and business models for industry and services, to assist the “greening” of workplaces and work. Among the goals of the project, Lipsig-Mummé and her research team hope to develop work-based strategies to reduce greenhouse gases and energy use and integrate international and national best practices into Canadian work. Training for highly qualified work-based environmental change experts is also planned.

“It goes without saying that slowing global warming is a huge issue,” says Lipsig-Mummé. “The world of work has been neglected terrain in responding to climate change, but the structures of work, of modern business organizations, and of unions make it easier, not harder, to adapt work in order to mitigate greenhouse gases. After all, work creates the majority of GHGs produced by human activity in developed countries like Canada.”

The national project, which will also receive more than $2.2 million in matching funding and contributions from partnering organizations, includes 38 individual members and 19 partners in four countries. The team’s partners are labour unions and business organizations, government and public sector organizations, think tanks, universities and environmental groups. Team expertise spans natural and applied sciences, engineering, management, law, environmental studies, social sciences and organizational leadership.

“We are delighted by the results of the recent SSHRC competitions, reflecting York’s leadership in large-scale collaborative research projects,” said Robert Haché, York’s vice-president research and innovation. “Professor Lipsig-Mummé is conducting important research with partners in government, academia and public sector organizations to help workplaces in Canada address important issues of climate change and develop work-based strategies to reduce greenhouse gases and energy use.

Two York researchers also received $313,396 in funding under the Partnership Development Grants Program, which provides support to foster new research and related activities with new or existing partners; and to design and test new partnership approaches for research and/or related activities.

“York University is committed to supporting the growth and development of initiatives to enable the recognition of the University as a Canadian leader in sustainability research,” added Haché.

The announcement was made earlier today by the Honourable Minister of State (Science and Technology) Ed Holder. In total, $44 million is being awarded to support funding for 57 new Partnership Development Grants and 14 Partnership Grants.

For a complete list of Partnership Grant and Partnership Development Grant awards, visit the SSHRC website.

Arielle Zomer, Research Communications, York University, 416-736-2100 ext. 21069, azomer@yorku.ca