Posts from Paris: Unions act on climate change

PARIS – One of the many trade unionists active here in Paris during the climate talks is Martha Hawthorne, a member of SEIU. She sent me this description of her second day here in Paris – Teresa Albano

Hi friends, neighbors, union pals, comrades and family,

This morning I joined the international union movement and 10,000 others to form the Human Chain for the Climate.

I posted pictures on my Facebook page:

I met Laura, from the Comisiones Obraras in Spain who told me this is her 10th COP!  Also met Ben from the Australian Council of Trade Unions who told me about the drought and fires in his country.  Makes California sound like a picnic.

And Lynne, from the Canadian Postal Workers Union and of course lots of members from lots of unions in France.  

Some are official delegates and some of us, “delegates without badges,” will be in the outer areas of the conference, but we will be briefed every morning and will attend the Trade Union Forum and other events.  One fellow who will be on the inside told me that there will be giant screens inside the official conference showing all the people in Paris and around the world who are demonstrating. Hundreds of thousands!

After the Human Chain, I walked with my Canadian union friend and a Parisian who lives right next door to one of the restaurants attacked, to pay our respects and mourn Bataclan.  The club was surrounded with people and police. (I heard there are 120,000 police on the streets for COP 21.)  There were thousands of candles and the sidewalks were overflowing with flowers and pictures and statements like these:

“Rest in Peace United Brotherhood…Together… Freedom…Respect…Equality,…Citizen…  Italian, Cameroun, French, Arab, Portuguese, Greek, Spain, English, Russian, Swedish, Canadian, African, Tunisian, Pakistani, American, Moroccan, Roman and Asian.”

More pictures here.

After Bataclan we tried to get to Place de la Republique to see the 1000 shoes (my flip flops among them), but I smelled tear gas and we decided to leave and call it a day.

Tomorrow I will focus on reading the platform of the Blue Green Alliance and that of Trade Unions for Energy Democracy and finding another chocolate eclair.  Tuesday is the day “Delegates without Badges” check into the Union area. 

My Servas host made leek and mushroom quiche for dinner and we drank an organic white wine from southern France.  I’d tell you about the dessert another time…

Love to all,

Martha Hawthorne

Photo: Part of the Human Chain for the Climate. “The human chain this morning was incredible, from Place de la Republique down to Metro Nation, more than a mile! Labor was present!” Martha Hawthorne.