26 Jan
2021

State senator examines Indiana labor policy

first_imgFor believers in the power and need for collective bargaining, Indiana State Sen. John Broden says now is an incredibly frustrating and troubling time. “In the last five to six years, a lot of our labor laws have fallen to the wayside. If you believe that labor organizations have the right to collective bargaining, Indiana has certainly taken a number of steps back,” Broden said. Tuesday night, the Higgins Labor Studies Program Friends and Alumni Network sponsored a discussion with Broden, who graduated from the University in 1987, in which he focused on fighting for laborers rights in the Indiana State Senate. “I’ve loved working in the General Assembly, but it’s definitely gotten more challenging. I’m a Democrat, and we’ve always been the minority but we’re even more severely the minority now,” Broden said. “Indiana has traditionally sort of been a swing state, it’s not monolithically Republican. But right now, at the state legislative level, it is.”Though 32 members of the Indiana General Assembly were Republicans when Broaden was sworn in, there are currently 40 Republicans, making up a more significant majority.“The 32 members that are Republicans were much more moderate strain when I was sworn in than the 40 members that are there now. Now, you know, we’re seeing more and more conservative members beating those more moderate members in elections, and we’re losing that middle, more moderate group,” he said. Broden said his most difficult fight came over the common construction wage, which the Republicans wanted to repeal.“It appeared that logic was thrown out the window. The only people who were for this were non-union contractors, who did very little public work, and then there were very right wing people that were just ideologically opposed to this,” he said. “… and that’s what was so frustrating about this, because we then ended up repealing the common construction wage.”Broden talked about his growing frustration with the Republican majority in the General Assembly, particularly in regards to workers rights.“Running against teachers unions became very popular for Republicans. They were calling them out for protecting bad teachers, and then those bills passed, and then you know, Right to Work was next to go,” he said. Regarding Indiana’s recent status a Right to Work state, Broden said he was discontent with the way that legislation had been passed. In Right to Work states, labor unions are allowed, but workers in unionized professions cannot be forced to join unions.“Indiana is now what they call a Right to Work state. For a while, we avoided kind of taking up this fight, but you know you look around and there were a lot of members who wanted that. Recently, though, we’ve lost some members who were against Right to Work, so they were able to get that bill passed,” Broden said. Looking to the future, Broden said he is working on policies regarding the minimum wage in Indiana. “It’s extremely frustrating if you believe in labor rights, because things like minimum wage right now are being challenged and that’s something that we’re really fighting for but you know, we just can’t get it passed,” he said. Broden said his passion for politics and labor rights came primarily from his time at Notre Dame. “I really enjoyed my curriculum at Notre Dame, it confirmed everything I thought about politics, which I was interested from the very early days,” he said. “Two of my favorite courses were in labor studies, and there’s labor and labor history but then more importantly there’s labor economics, which sparked an interest in me that remains today.”Tags: John Broden, Right to Work Rachel O’Grady | The Observer State senator and Notre Dame alumnus John Broden discusses the variety of issues the Indianalegislature faces regarding minimum wage, right to work status and other labor policies.last_img read more

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31 Dec
2020

Power Company Announces Unexpected Shutdown by Early 2018 of Two More Texas Coal-Fired Plants

first_imgPower Company Announces Unexpected Shutdown by Early 2018 of Two More Texas Coal-Fired Plants FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Power Magazine:Vistra Energy moved to halt a financial hemorrhage stemming from unprofitable conditions in the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), announcing plans to shutter two more coal-fired power plants—the 1.1-GW Sandow Power Plant (which includes a 2009-built unit) and the 1.2-GW Big Brown plant—in early 2018.The company’s decision made public on October 13 comes on the heels of an announcement last week by Vistra Energy subsidiary Luminary to shutter its 1.9-GW coal-fired Monticello plant in Titus County.Vistra Energy said the coal plant closures are necessary because they are “economically challenged in the competitive ERCOT market.” Specifically, it said, “Sustained low wholesale power prices, an oversupplied renewable generation market, and low natural gas prices, along with other factors, have contributed to this decision.”“This announcement is a difficult one to make,” said Vistra Energy President and CEO Curt Morgan. “It is never easy to announce an action that has a significant impact on our people. Though the long-term economic viability of these plants has been in question for some time, our year-long analysis indicates this announcement is now necessary.”The Sandow plant in Bastrop County, central Texas, has two units, one built in 1981, and the other in 2009. The Big Brown plant in Freestone County also has two units that were brought online between 1971 and 1972.  Sandow and Big Brown are fired with lignite, though Big Brown supplements with Powder River Basin coal.In September 2009, Luminant completed the 581-MW Sandow 5 unit in Milam County, Texas—the first new coal unit build in Texas in 17 years. It uses circulating fluidized bed technology and burns Texas lignite coal. In September 2009, Luminant completed the 581-MW Sandow 5 unit in Bastrop County, Texas—the first new coal unit built in Texas in 17 years. It uses circulating fluidized bed technology and burns Texas lignite coal.Vistra also said it entered into a contract agreement with Alcoa to terminate a long-standing power and mining agreement for the Sandow site. Alcoa will make a one-time payment to Luminant. The Three Oaks Mine in Bastrop County, which supports Sandow, will also close.More: Vistra Closing Two More Giant Uneconomic Coal Plants in Texaslast_img read more

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8 Dec
2020

Binghamton University shares testing plans after colleges across the nation grapple with COVID-19

first_img“That’s just a randomize sampling. If we can hopefully identify anyone with COVID, we can remove them and place them into isolation housing,” said Hubeny. While staff and students will be tested randomly, or if they show symptoms, the school is taking one extra step in hopes of monitoring any potential cases on campus. While there is not much oversight on ensuring everyone is completing the form, the school says they’re doing other methods of testing. At Cornell University, students are being tested twice a week. Binghamton University says they are averaging about 200 tests a day, or 1,000 a week. For more information on Binghamton University’s COVID-19 count, you can visit their COVID-19 Testing Data Dashboard. (WBNG) — While some colleges have dozens, or even hundreds of COVID-19 cases, Binghamton University is only reporting two positive cases since September 2nd. “The expectation is they will do that. There is no real good enforcement mechanism, but yes, the expectation is that it will be filled out,” said Hubeny. “We’re starting with a simple screening tool of every member of our community, from staff, students, and faculty,” said Office of Emergency Management Executive Director Dave Hubeny. Testing the waste water will allow the school to locate specific locations as to where the virus could spread. “Passively, we’re also testing waste water. We’ve been doing this for several weeks now,” said Hubeny. “Before students got back, we were able to test to get a baseline so we have something to compare it to.” Every university has come up with their own plan to battle COVID-19, but for Binghamton University, they are focusing on surveillance testing. Tuesday, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced schools with more than 100 positive cases will be required to report to the state’s department of health. As schools continue to monitor for COVID-19, Binghamton University is also looking to SUNY for guidance on the next steps. “We work in partnership with the Broome County Health Department, with our own internal health services, and obviously with the SUNY system administration. We’ll adjust our testing if there is a need,” said Hubeny. Of the approximately 18,000 enrolled students, only 5,800 live on campus this semester. Each student was required to test upon arrival, and if testing negative, they were allowed to move in. Now, students and staff are required to complete a form every day, describing if they have any symptoms of illness. last_img read more

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