Unions Back Keystone XL Pipeline Threatens Clash With Occupy Movement

TransCanada Corporation announced an agreement with American labor unions supporting the Keystone Gulf Coast Expansion Pipeline Project (Keystone XL).

The Project Labor Agreement is with the AFL-CIO, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the Laborers International Union of North America, the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipefitting Industry of the United States and Canada, the International Union of Operating Engineers and the Pipeline Contractors Association.

Just as parameters for a working relationship between the mutually independent Occupation Movement and the labor Unions is being worked out to reflect their ability to work as allies on certain issues, and mere days after certain Unions threatened to torpedo the relationship by publicly endorsing President Obama before he or his administration have even begun to address the issues and concerns motivating the movement, the Unions have once again thrown up a barrier to a productive, working alliance.

While the Occupation Movement has realized that Unions and the Labor movement should be their natural allies on certain issues, the realization that many unions have become as willing to work against the best interest of the health, welfare and continued sustainability of their rank-and-file has made it very difficult to establish a healthy working relationship. There seems to be a presumption by the unions that if they keep chanting the 99% mantra they’ve adopted from the Occupy Movement, and keep tossing the movement little bits of money and a few resources,  all will be simpatico.  This may be true with other groups like Moveon.org and Van Jones’ ‘Rebuilding the Dream’ who are trying to pose as the Occupy Movement, but it is far from the truth with the actual Occupy Movement.

While the resources that have been provided have been received with deep grattitude, the violation of a core principle of the movement, and yet another alliance with a powerful adversary of the Movement, may cause the occupation movement to actively distance itself from the labor movement and the unions.  In addition to this distancing there are early considerations and discussions about mounting protests against the unions that continue to define themselves as part of the problem rather than as part of the solution.

The Occupation Movement started in the United States with a few young people showing the intestinal fortitude to take to the streets, literally, and has grown to be a global phenomenon with numbers of active participants rivaling unions, and levels of populous support that dwarfs the dwindling political capital of American organized labor.  The hubris demonstrated by the unions who expect that tarps and toilets can be offered as trinkets and baubles to the Occupation Movement while support and resources of exponentially greater value and portent are showered on the Movements adversaries, is insulting and inexcusable.

As Occupy DC nears the completion of a statement by their Labor Relations Committee to address the nature and parameters of their incidental, issue based cooperation with the unions, their action committee, and multiple, autonomous, affinity groups and action teams, will be considering various proposals for actions against some of the very unions that are actively seeking to capitalize on the movement’s momentum and and popular support.



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