Apr 112017

We are proud to announce another exciting publication for the Postdoc Union! Today a joint op-ed by Carly Ebben Eaton, UAW 5810 Financial Secretary and climate scientist, and Kathy Setian, retired EPA scientist and IFPTE Local 20 steward, appears in the San Francisco Chronicle. The op-ed discusses the chilling effect the Trump administration’s policies and rhetoric are having on climate science research and the important role that unions of researchers have to play in pushing back against attempts to undermine this crucial research.

This is a critical moment in history and April 22nd presents an incredible opportunity for UC researchers to forcefully demonstrate that we are committed to protecting the integrity of our work. Please read and share the op-ed today, and join your fellow UC researchers across the state to march for science on April 22nd.

The full text of the op-ed is below!

In Solidarity,

Anke Schennink, President, UC Davis
Neal Sweeney, Vice President, UC Santa Cruz
Melissa Agnello, Recording Secretary, UC Los Angeles
Carlena Ebben Eaton, Financial Secretary, UC Berkeley
Matt Grimmer, Trustee, UC San Francisco
Lydia Majure, Trustee, UC Berkeley
Wen Jiang, Guide, UC Los Angeles
Charisse Winston, Sergeant At Arms, UC San Diego

Unionized scientists march in protest of attacks on facts

Of all the attacks on our civil society, the attacks on science pose perhaps the greatest existential threat. Decisions today about climate science and environmental protection will shape the future of our planet.

Advances in research are produced by dedicated scientists and an activated citizenry who demand that the best science be applied to today’s most pressing problems. Because scientists produce the facts that expose the lies being purveyed, science is being targeted with vehemence.

Unionized scientists are well positioned to fight back against the false narratives being pushed by the Trump administration, and to advocate collectively for continued funding of crucial basic research.

For example, the Trump administration is proposing cuts of 31 percent in funding and 3,000 jobs at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on top of less heralded budget cuts over the last three years. Is this a good way to save money? No.

Investments in environmental protection pay huge dividends for the country. For example, air pollution reductions will avoid 230,000 premature deaths and produce total benefits valued at $2 trillion by 2020, according to a 2011 study. This benefit exceeds costs by more than 30 to 1, to say nothing of the human suffering.

As organized scientists, we are in solidarity with our union brothers and sisters who have lost jobs and real income over the past decades. We reject the myth that environmental regulations kill jobs.

For the almost 7,000 postdoctoral researchers at the University of California and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory represented by UAW Local 5810, the union ensures strong workplace protections as well as a nationwide platform for advocacy, in the same way the Engineers and Scientists of California Local 20 do for staff at EPA Region 9. With a diverse membership, our unions have advocated for climate change policies that create healthy communities and address economic and racial inequities.

Clean energy production is becoming a worldwide, multitrillion-dollar, job-producing industry. But American workers cannot reap benefits if our nation returns to polluting industries such as coal, or buries its head in tar sands. We must not let the debate be framed as “jobs or environment.”

Scientists have long held the view that with enough data and evidence, we will be able to convince skeptics with facts that climate change is real, that humans are responsible, and that immediate action must be taken. It is increasingly clear that we have not convinced skeptics. Our very lives and livelihood are dependent on stepping collectively forward into the realm of political advocacy and action.

Together we will March for Science on April 22, in opposition to the damage that the Trump administration seeks to do to research, and in solidarity with scientists, researchers and concerned citizens who remain resolved, undeterred and organized in the face of these threats. Join us.

Carly Ebben Eaton is a postdoctoral scholar and executive board member of UAW Local 5810. Kathy Setian was a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency project manager and a steward of Engineers and Scientists of California Local 20.

Speak up for science

Kathy Setian will speak at the April 22 March for Science in San Francisco that begins at 11 a.m. at Justin Herman Plaza.

Write or call your congressional representative or senator and urge them to reject the president’s budget. Say the nation must properly fund the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Institutes of Health and other scientific agencies.