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News Link • Environment

Dirty vs. Green Jobs: Labor's Keystone Dilemma

•, by Jeremy Brecher and
 These are tough times to be a construction worker in America. While other sectors of the economy are showing signs of life, the unemployment rate in the construction industry is getting worse, not better - rising from 13% to 16% in January.
It is against this backdrop that the titanic struggle over the Keystone XL pipleline is being waged. On one side are unions such as the Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA) and the United Association of Plumbers & Pipefitters, who support the pipeline because they believe that it will create thousands of high-wage jobs for their members. On the other side are environmentalists and others who believe the pipeline will hasten the climate crisis, threaten our water supplies and increase oil prices.

The fallout from the conflict has been significant. When six labor unions joined the Sierra Club and other environmental groups in support of President Obama’s decision to oppose the permit last month, LIUNA President Terry O’Sullivan accused the coalition as being “job killers,” and withdrew his union from the BlueGreen Alliance.

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