There has been much media attention paid to AFL-CIO boss Richard Trumka’s plan to invite non-union groups like the Sierra Club and the NAACP into the AFL-CIO.
However, despite Trumka’s intentions, environmental groups like the Sierra Club do not always have union members’ best interests at heart.
In many cases, the Sierra Club (in the past and present) pushes an agenda that, if enacted, cause economic harm to members of a variety of unions.
Nowhere is this more evident than with the Environmental Protection Agency’s push to kill the coal industry.
As the EPA began a tour of “listening sessions” about its proposed coal-killing regulations. Ironically, the states the EPA chose to ignore are those states that are most dependent on coal.
Last Friday, at one of the “listening sessions” in Chicago, the clash between environmentalists and unions were brought to light in a very public way as captured by the Left-wing Progress Illinois:
Point: The Coal-Killers’ Rally:
Katie Mimnaugh, a student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, who has asthma, said every person should have the right to breathe clean, fresh air.
“Instead of relying on coal, which is being brought down by market forces anyways, why don’t we invest in cleaner alternatives,” she asked. “Introducing strong carbon pollution standards gives us an opportunity to modernize our communities and create more clean energy jobs. It’s a win-win for our future here in Illinois.”
Counterpoint: The Pro-Coal Rally:
Robert Schwartz, president of Boilermakers Local 1 in Chicago, represents workers who help build and repair coal-fired boilers that generate electricity. Thousands of boilermakers could be impacted by the new EPA regulations, he said.
“These additional mandates are destroying what manufacturing we have left by increasing the cost of power,” Schwartz stressed. “With a loss of jobs, we will be more dependent on foreign nations. We cannot depend on wind and solar energy when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind does not blow. They don’t generate electricity, we will be left in the dark.”
Perhaps Dick Trumka would be better served by listening to his fellow union bosses who seem to put their members above their politics.
The AFL-CIO needs to stick with representing workers and stop trying to take on social causes for the far left, said the union head for the International Association of Fire Fighters.
“To say that we are going to grow this labor movement by some kind of formal partnership, membership, status, place in this federation, I am against. This is the American Federation of Labor. We are supposed to be representing workers and workers’ interests,” Mr. Schaitberger said in The Hill. “We are not going to be the American Federation of Progressive and Liberal Organizations.”
AFPLO? Perhaps someday…But that day wasn’t last Friday.