Sunday, April 27, 2014

Sunday morning round-up: Workers Memorial Day, pipeline protest and Microsoft taking over Cheyenne

I work in front of a computer in a temperature-controlled office. It's hard to imagine being injured or killed on the job.

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.
Good turn-out Friday at the rally opposing the XL Pipeline. It was organized by Edith Cook who writes amazing columns for the local paper. BTW, if you'd like to read her words in their raw form before they go under the editor's knife, go here. She's a good writer and researcher. Her columns stir the blood and rile up the energy industry and its apologists. They incite a hue and cry from the right-wing crazies, who must all be unemployed as they seem to have plenty of time to pen angry online responses -- witness the recent online dust-up over Wyoming's proposed immigration resettlement program.

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.


1 comment:

Joe Nunnally said...

Here is something interesting to read about the tea party and the upcoming elections in 2016