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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Sun Apr 22, 2012, 10:31 AM

66. "We need to forge a movement to save the planet and jobs at the same time"

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/04/20-11

Unions and Environmentalists: Get It Together!
by Jane McAlevey

The “blue-green alliance” between labor and environmentalists is on life support, and unless it can be revived, this fight may yet be lost—along with many other climate battles down the road.

At the height of the Keystone debate, four unions stood with the titans of the fossil fuel industry to lambaste progressive environmentalists as extremist job killers. The Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA) president, Terry O’Sullivan, went so far as to describe unionists who opposed the climate-destroying pipeline as being “under the skirts of delusional environmental groups which stand in the way of creating good, much needed American jobs.”

This January, when President Obama again rejected the expedited construction of the pipeline, O’Sullivan doubled down, saying, “We’re repulsed by some of our supposed brothers and sisters lining up with job killers like the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council to destroy the lives of working men and women.”

... to counter the industry’s wedge strategy, climate activists need to build an immediate and just response to the jobs issue directly into their campaign. The anti-Keystone movement should have demanded that millions of dollars go immediately into a mini-stimulus package for climate-related infrastructure work along the same route as the pipeline. This means victory would not have been declared until the 5,000 unemployed workers who shouldn’t be building the pipeline are hired in a one-time stimulus for the exact same workers. It means the “victory lap” would be somewhere in Nebraska at a shovel-ready site with 5,000 construction workers going to work fixing broken bridges, expanding high-speed Internet access into rural areas or fixing up agricultural damage. This would speak to the needs of the 17 percent of workers in construction who are unemployed—a legitimate concern of the labor leaders who have played such a destructive role in this debate.


In the "Trades" (Laborers, Plumbers, Electricians, etc.) unions, the leadership lives or dies by jobs - thus the statement by a plumber I know who told me that the Plumbers would "build a pipeline to hell if it meant jobs." Also apt the well known "it's hard for a wo/man to see something when his/her livelihood depends on not seeing it."

The failure of this Administration to put these workers to work is part of the utter failure of environmental protection under Obama's Corporatacracy. For another, look no further than what is now being written about Deepwater - which is exactly what anyone with half a brain cell already knew.

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