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AFL-CIO to Planet Earth: Drop Dead


AFL-CIO to Planet Earth: Drop Dead

Norman Solomon

At a meeting with the deputy political director of the AFL-CIO during my campaign for Congress, she looked across her desk and told me that I could get major union support by coming out in favor of the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

That was five years ago. Since then, the nation’s biggest labor federation has continued to serve the fossil fuel industry. Call it union leadership for a dead planet.


Let's let them build their pipeline after seven generations...


Until labor unions redirect the money they send to Democrats over to the Green Party, unions will continue their downward spiral.

When I retire I will send the amount of money I now pay for union dues over to the Green Party. It hurts to see the union hard wire my money to Democrats.


This is classic short-term thinking on the part of Trumka. What he is arguing is that these "high-quality" jobs that will cause permanent damage to these sacred lands of the Dakota People are a good idea even though they are not permanent themselves and therefore are will not provide any long-term employment for the members of his union. We heard the same crap when the XL Pipeline was being debated. They said that it would provide thousands of new jobs. What they didn't say was that once the pipeline was built that it would take only a few dozen people to run it and maintain it. And for what? To allow the transport of one the filthiest sources of petro-based energy to get to the refineries in the Gulf of Mexico area (one of them owned by the Koch Demons) to further accelerate the process of global warming. Native people with their "Seven Generations" approach to decision making are much wiser then this, especially when you consider how wasteful we are about our energy use.


So they want to build tubes from point A to point B. Why do those tubes have to carry environmental destructive fluids? Wouldn't there be at least as many union jobs available if those same pipeline companies were producing hyperloop transportation systems? Wouldn't t here be even better union jobs if it was the government building those hyper loop systems instead of a private multinational company?


The plutocrats who lead the labor unions work hand in glove with the oligarchy.
Union leadership wants jobs at any cost up to and including the destruction of the environment.
The oligarchy wants profits at any cost up to and including the destruction of the environment.
That's how Capitalism works.


A big problem of some union leadership, like the AFL-CIO, is they focus on their own narrow self-interests (their unions and thier own). This might be useful for the adversarial relationship workers have with corporations, but is really short-sighted and when put into broader context of the complex web of interests, makes them no better than corporations.


Disappointing! But understandable as well.


Industrial trade unions (including the construction trade unions) have a symbiotic relationship with the industries they serve. That is their fatal flaw, along with the reality that capital is mobile and labor is mostly not. Looking to industrial trade unions (steel, mining, aerospace, etc.) to champion progressive causes is not logical. They have always served the interests of their membership, almost always exclusively. It was not a conscious intent of the unions, through fair compensation, to lift the wages of all USA'ns, just a temporary natural consequence. And then capital flew away, and will go to any lengths never to be squeezed like that again; this is the dilemma of 21st century humanity.


Yes, indeed. I do not support this pipeline but I have a soft spot in my heart for pipeliners. I put myself through college, decades ago, by working on natural gas pipeline construction during the summer months. Some weeks we would work 6 /10s, that is six days a week ten hours a day. Welders came from all over the country, especially from the south, to work on pipelines up north during the summer months. At times this mixture of Illinois boys and Arkansas boys made for some interesting moments, not fights, but cultural differences, raw and in relief, and often humorous. I worked through the Plumbers and Steamfitters Local. As then, today many men in these unions depend on seasonal work, be it pipelines, building construction, etc,. and obviously these are lean times. I also spent a couple years in the Dakotas and support the efforts of the brave native peoples in their efforts to stop this pipeline. Life is complex.


There are great union jobs to be had in getting this nation OFF of fossil fuels. Wake up.
Solar and wind all require skilled labor, right?
Again, wake the Hell up!


Let's also remember that they already rerouted the pipeline when it was going to impact white people's water. But hey no one will care about Native American water rights...we've got jobs to protect so who cares what the environmental and human cost is for everyone else!


Of what use are more jobs if all potential workers are dead?


The workers may all be dead, but the plutocrats will still be alive and living a grand lifestyle feeding off or bones. Sounds like a plan.


Hyenas devouring a dead zebra, sharks in a feeding frenzy tearing apart a dead dolphin.....we don't expect a lot of planning, foresight and strategy out of such carnivores. The fossil fuel industry is dying, a meaty carcass to be had, and the most vicious industry titans, union bosses, and politicians have their fangs sunk in deep. No argument will convince them. They aren't listening!


It seems to me that solar, wind and retrofitting would provide permanent jobs when a pipeline would only provide one temporary job.


Dues money does not go to any political party. Not permitted and closely watched. But you can send an equivalent amount to whoever you like.


Keystone pipeline is dead. What Indian water sources are you speaking of?


There are vast projects needed in this country that don't involve oil pipe lines or mining.


Agreed. And hyper loop transportation is not necessarily at the top of my list. However, when I hear some politicians discussing the need for infrastructure modernization - they often start listing roads and bridges first. I roll my eyes at the thought that our top infrastructure needs should be extending the life of our fossil fuel based transportation system. Let's do clean water way before that.