Labor Unions Barely Hide Disgust In Letter To AFL-CIO About Teaming Up With Eco-Billionaire

Michael Bastasch | Energy Editor

In yet another episode of global warming activism angering traditional political allies, a group of trade union leaders could barely hide their disgust in a letter to the AFL-CIO about its decision to create a super PAC with environmentalist billionaire Tom Steyer.

The leaders of eight building trade unions sent a letter to AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka arguing America’s largest union federation “seems to consistently minimize the importance of Building Trades jobs and our members’ livelihoods” in the name of an environmental agenda that “has produced mixed results at best and disastrous results at worst for our members and their employment prospects in many instances throughout the country.”

“We are not climate science deniers and have merely sought to ensure that the employment prospects of our members are not negatively impacted in any economic and energy transition,” union leaders wrote in the letter, obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Trade union leaders want Trumka to pull out of a super PAC created with Steyer and teachers’ unions called For Our Future. Steyer, a former hedge fund manager, was one of the principal funders behind the opposition to the Keystone XL oil pipeline. Steyer has also spent millions more supporting Democratic presidents and campaigns to stymie energy projects.

Steyer has agreed to match donations unions put into the group to amplify their resources and push back against Republicans in the upcoming election. The super Pac is headed by Democratic strategist Paul Tewes, “who was a top political director for President Obama’s 2008 campaign, has done work for All Risk, No Reward, an alliance of anti-Keystone groups,” according to The Washington Post.

“The latest disturbing example of this dubious big tent strategy that has, in many instances, been detrimental to the economic well being of our members, is the reported formation of the aforementioned Super PAC that will be dominated by funds from Steyer and run by an operative who once and perhaps still does lead his personal political odyssey,” building unions wrote to Trumka.

Terry O’Sullivan, a labor union president and vocal critic of the Obama administration’s anti-Keystone XL stance, wrote a separate letter to Trumka, alleging Steyer had essentially purchased control of AFL-CIO.

“This Super PAC creates a significant conflict between the interests of hard-working union members and the interests of those running the Super PAC,” O’Sullivan wrote.

“With your blessing and support, Tom Steyer has purchased the backing, prestige, and control of the AFL-CIO, and will now use it to advance his own agenda, promote his own views, and further his own political ambitions,” O’Sullivan wrote. “This scheme if the logical outcome of an obsession with, and a desire to throw open the doors of labor to, outside organizations that are completely out of touch with the needs and concerns of ordinary, blue-collar working Americans.”

For years, trade unions have become increasingly frustrated with environmental activists who want to the U.S. to stop using fossil fuels. The problem is that many labor unions rely on pipelines, power plants and coal mines for their livelihoods.

So, Obama administration regulations forcing coal plants to close down or vetoing pipelines, like Keystone XL, have only fanned the flames of conflict between blue and green-collared Democrats.

“The stated rationale for this fund as published in press reports does nothing to assuage concerns that the AFL-CIO has now officially become infiltrated by financial and political interests that work in direct conflict to many of our members’—and yes, AFL-CIO dues paying members’ lives,” trade union leaders wrote. “This is a disturbing development and one that requires a further explanation.”

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Tags : afl cio energy keystone xl pipeline richard trumka tom steyer
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