There’s a rift between President Obama and AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on the building of the Keystone XL Pipeline:
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka is backing construction of the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline in comments that downplay divisions among unions in the labor federation over the controversial project.
“They are not divided on the pipeline itself,” Trumka said in a C-SPAN interview when asked about differences among unions over Keystone. “They are divided on how the pipeline is done.”
“I think we are all unanimous by saying we should build the pipeline, but we have to do it consistent with all environmental standards, and I think we can work that out, I really do, and we are for that happening,” Trumka said in the interview that aired Sunday.
That’s politicspeak for “Yes, I’m upset with President Obama siding with the environutters but I can’t be that blunt in public.”
What’s important is that this administration’s hostility towards fossil fuels is hurting families’ budgets and hurting job creation.
Trumka can spin this all he’d like but it’s indisputable that President Obama won’t approve this pipeline after the election or anytime. His hostility towards domestic energy production is apparent to anyone with an ounce of objectivity.
When hasn’t President Obama not sided with the militant environmentalists over the unions on a major issue? That’s the benchmark by which President Obama should be measured.
The pipeline has been a thorny issue for the labor federation and harmed at least one major union’s relationship with environmentalists.
Many unions including the Laborers’ International Union, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, the Teamsters, the Building and Construction Trades Department of the AFL-CIO and others strongly back construction of Keystone, calling it a way to create jobs.
But the Amalgamated Transit Union and the Transport Workers Union have opposed Keystone due to environmental concerns about the oil sands and potential pipeline spills.
And the United Steelworkers, the United Autoworkers, the Communications Workers of America and the Service Employees International Union joined those two unions and two big green groups in a statement that backed Obama’s January decision to reject a permit for Keystone.
The important thing to take from this is that the unions won’t be united for President Obama. This disunity won’t be displayed by those unions’ leadership. It’ll be exposed within the rank-and-file members of the unions.
More importantly, this is a statement that most of these unions serve the Democratic Party’s needs first, the people’s needs last. The Steelworkers, the UAW, the CWA and the SEIU have sided with the environutters for higher gas prices. They’ve said with their actions that they don’t care how much high gas prices hurt families.
If that’s their attitude towards families’ budgets, then families should reject their political agenda outright. Families should reject the politicians that support the unions’ agenda, too.
This weekend, President Obama said that we shouldn’t return to the policies of the Bush administration. I’d argue that we can’t continue with his failed policies because this administration’s policies hurt families from all income groups.
That isn’t how to rebuild America. That’s the blueprint for destroying the American Dream.
Comments welcome at Let Freedom Ring.