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Workers, feds reach agreement

A settlement between the federal government and workers displaced by NAFTA ends years of litigation between the Association of Border Workers and the U.S. Department of Labor, the Texas Workforce Commission, and El Paso’s Upper Rio Grande Workforce Development Board.

The settlement requires job training for Spanish-speaking workers and includes $6.5 million in retraining for jobs that can provide at least 80 percent of workers’ prior wages. Previously, workforce agencies allegedly characterized remedial-education courses such as English as a Second Language, as occupations for which the worker was being trained.

State agencies also must develop on-the-job training; in El Paso, that training has not been attempted in 10 years.

El Paso has suffered severely from NAFTA job losses, affecting more than 20,000 workers — five times more than any other city — mainly Spanish-speaking women working in the garment industry.

Who has seen the wind? CPS

City Public Service Energy, San Antonio’s municipally owned utility, has amped up its wind energy program, buying an additional 100 megawatts from Cottonwood Creek Wind Farm, southwest of Sweetwater. A 20-year agreement with DKRW Energy of Houston signed last spring enables CPS to tap into energy from Cottonwood’s 67 turbines, which generate enough electricity to supply approximately 30,000 homes, according to Richard Peña, CPS Energy’s senior vice president of energy supply.

Combined with 160 megawatts from the Desert Sky Wind Farm near Iraan in West Texas, Cottonwood Creek CPS could supply 50,000 homes with electricity.

CPS customers can power part of their home with wind by signing up for the Windtricity program. The energy is sold in 100-kilowatt hour blocks for an additional $3 each. For more information go to windtricity.com.

Be decent, be a docent

Mitchell Lake Audubon Center is looking for docents to volunteer at its wildlife refuge. An orientation is scheduled for Sunday, January 22, 2-4 p.m., at the center, 10750 Pleasanton. It is free, although the February 5 docent class is $15. Info and RSVP at 628-1639.

Francesca Camillo


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