Will President Obama Snub Labor Unions on Keystone? | Speaker.gov

On Friday, nearly six and a half years after the application to build the Keystone XL pipeline was filed with the State Department, Speaker Boehner signed the bipartisan legislation, and the bill’s next stop will be the president’s desk.  President Obama has vowed to veto it for no good reason.

This legislation never should have been necessary, but over the years, the Obama administration has used every trick in the book to delay and deny what should have been a routine energy infrastructure improvement project. It’s such a no-brainer that support for it “is almost universal,” according to The Washington Post. Pew Research also found that more Democrats supported it than not, with opposition concentrated amongst post-graduates, “liberals and those with high family incomes.” These are the people who would deny construction laborers and blue-collar workers the opportunities and paychecks brought by Keystone – all because of an ideological fixation unsupported by science.

Given the benefits for American workers, it’s unsurprising that labor unions have strongly supported building the pipeline:

The Laborers’ International Union of North America:

“For the record, our union was among those that twice supported the Obama-Biden ticket …. But that does not negate our right and obligation to speak out when, because of politics, the administration fails to stand up for working people and the men and women we represent. … Enter Tom Steyer, the billion-dollar man. … The hedge-fund manager and Wall Street tycoon seems to have gained the ears of White House officials and numerous Democrats across the country. … Steyer has amplified the rhetoric of the environmental fringe aimed at tearing down the value of Americans who build things with their hands. The rhetoric has seeped into the White House discourse, with the president himself scoffing at the ‘temporary’ jobs that pipeline construction creates. It’s not completely surprising that a hedge-fund manager would fail to understand the kitchen-table economics of a pipeline or its value to working people. Or that construction work is, by nature, temporary and that millions of construction workers lead middle-class lives, own homes and put their children through college by moving from one union construction job to the next. … Although political decisions may not be easy, we believe the United States can still do great things, including construct great projects that advance our country’s place in the world. … A little courage from the administration would go a long way.”

The AFL-CIO Building & Construction Trades Department:

“[We] emphatically support the construction of Keystone. … We are adamant in our belief that the economic, energy security and national security benefits associated with the construction of this pipeline are too important to allow it to be delayed any longer. … [F]ar too many of our members have lost homes and are struggling to put food on the table. The Keystone XL project will create tens of thousands of good paying jobs here in the United States and Canada. For many members of our unions, Keystone XL is not just a pipeline; it is, in the most literal sense, a life line.”

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters:

“The Teamers Union believes that the Keystone XL pipeline will contribute to enhanced energy security, economic prosperity and, of critical importance, the creation of good paying jobs. … If the pipeline is not built, important socioeconomic benefits will not be realized – the positive impacts of local, state and federal revenue, spending by construction workers, and spending on construction goods and services. Building Keystone XL Pipeline will enhance U.S. energy and economic security. It is time to move forward without further delay.”

The International Union of Operating Engineers:

“The United States cannot afford further delay and uncertainty on the Keystone XL pipeline. It’s time to unlock the jobs this massive private investment will create and put Operating Engineers to work.”

North America's Building Trades Unions:

“President Obama must now make a decision. He can either sign the bill into law and reaffirm his commitment to supporting American infrastructure and American jobs, or he can veto it and be remembered in the minds of many as a president who placed politics ahead of the economic concerns of hard-working Americans.”

The United Association of Plumbers and Pipe Fitters:

“[K]eystone XL would generate a tremendous number of U.S. jobs. ... We’ve seen working families lose their livelihoods, their homes, their children’s college savings, and, in some cases, their dreams of building a better life for their families. These are not just jobs we’re talking about, but American families.”

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers:

“[T]he benefits from the Keystone XL Pipeline will not be localized.  From pipe manufactured in Arkansas, pump motors assembled in Ohio and transformers built in Pennsylvania, to the men and women who will actually work on the pipeline itself, workers from all over the United States would benefit from the project.”

Will President Obama side with anti-energy, left-fringe extremists and say no to labor unions? American workers will know very soon.