But workers die every day in the oil patch, in mines, on the construction site, in factories and driving truck. It's tough work. Pays well (mostly), but the risks can be enormous.
Wyoming doesn't have a sterling record when it comes to workplace safety. The state marks Workers Memorial Day on Monday, April 28, in the State Capitol Rotunda. Get the details at the Equality State Policy Center web site.
|At Friday's Cheyenne rally opposing the XL Pipeline.|
Edith spoke at the rally yesterday. Many protestors wore hazmat suits in keeping with the topics of tar sands and oil spills. I saw some familiar faces and met new people, some from Laramie and Fort Collins. After the speakers, everyone made a circuit around the Capitol, chanting about environmental trespasses and the legislature's recent efforts to dumb-down our schools' science curriculum. We will need well-educated scientists to solve some of the problems that science and technology have wrought over the years. Teaching kids that coal is earth's yummy candy and oil is mother's milk is not the solution.
News came in yesterday's paper that Microsoft is adding on to its data center here in Cheyenne. Its property is west of town in the North Range Business Park, adjacent to NCAR's super-computing center. We're going high-tech around here. Microsoft honchos seem to like working with business promoters such as Cheyenne LEADS. They also like southeast Wyoming's computer connectivity and its cool weather, which keeps down energy costs. Wyoming will be far from high tides caused by 21st century global warming which doesn't exist anyway.
It's all good for the economy. The initial Microsoft construction brought 400 jobs. While not all of these jobs employed locals, lots of dough was spent buying food and supplies and lodging and vehicles. As is the case with any Wyoming building project, workers were imported from Fort Collins and Greeley and Denver and other exotic climes. Some skilled workers prefer Colorado to Wyoming, as it's the homeland of their forebears, dwelling place of the Broncos and Rockies, and purveyor of find suds and smoke. Cheyenne, of course, is a working person's city, with its refinery, chemical plant, military base, mega-truck-stops and sprawling fulfillment centers. A skilled union pipefitter can live in Fort Collins, work in Cheyenne and then hunt, fish, boat and hike all over Wyoming. We're also drawing many of our high-tech workers from ColoradoLand. Borders, it seems, are permeable when it comes to employment -- not so much when it comes to immigration issues.