Sierra Club’s confidential guide for wooing union workers

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The Sierra Club has a helpful list of “dos and don’ts” for activists trying to convince union workers to support ending the mining and production of coal.

The Daily Caller News Foundation obtained an internal memo from Margrete Strand, the director of Sierra Club’s Labor and Trade Program from 2004 to 2012, providing this advice.

“Don’t use technical financial language,” the memo warns, “It can sound confusing and elitist.” The terms that are banned? Such complicated words as “markets” and “capital.”

“Don’t overly emphasize lofty,  potential new green jobs,” another point reads, admitting that highly-publicized green jobs aren’t the guarantee they’re often presented as.

And make sure to ingratiate yourself by helping the union out in other ways. “Do be prepared to integrate and strongly advocate for demands related to the workers and the community in your negotiation with a company, utility or elected officials. Think about participating in local labor social events such as May Day,” the memo suggests.

Most of all, “Don’t ever use the phrase ‘killing’ to refer to jobs, businesses, or the coal industry,” employees were warned. “Talk about transitions, phases, and gradual changes in the way we create and distribute energy.”

“Don’t allow Sierra Club to be branded as simply an environmental interest group juxtaposed to the interests of workers and communities,” the memo directs. “We can play an important role in helping facilitate a process or dialogue among constituencies to create a just transition plan.”

This is particularly vital for the Sierra Club, since Beyond Coal’s ultimate goal really is killing the coal industry.

The primary objective is to “stop the construction of a new fleet of coal plants with cleaner energy alternatives, with a goal of retiring all existing coal plants by 2030” and to “keep the massive U.S. coal reserves underground and out of international markets,” another internal campaign document revealed. (RELATED: Confidential document reveals the Sierra Club’s plan to shut down the coal industry

And right on Beyond Coal’s home website is a petition: “Coal companies shouldn’t have the right to wreck our climate for their profit. Tell the EPA to protect our communities from Big Coal’s pollution.”

“Do emphasize that economic justice orgs/unions and environmental groups often share political opponents, like the Koch Brothers,” the memo advised. “Point out specific abuses of corporate polluters, like avoiding paying their fair share of taxes, raising rates on working families, directing a large proportion of money to CEO pay and corporate profits, etc.”

The Sierra Club/Beyond Coal did not respond to a request for comment.

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