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May 17, 2016

Steyer Spoiler: Billionaire Environmentalist Sets Off Major Union Rift On The Left

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Tom Steyer had a rough few days last week. A Washington Free Beacon report revealed he invested in a company involved in a “tax haven leak” from the same group that released the Panama Papers.

Now this week is off to a bad start for the billionaire, after eight building trade unions called on AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka to cease and desist all ties with Steyer. The Washington Post reports:

A new super PAC partnership between billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer, the AFL-CIO and major public sector employee unions has triggered an angry backlash among the building trade unions — dividing organized labor just as it ramps up its 2016 political programs. In letters delivered Monday to AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, the presidents of eight building trade organizations called on the AFL-CIO to cut ties with Steyer, whose opposition to an extension of the Keystone XL Pipeline infuriated unions that had championed the jobs that the oil pipeline would have created.

Steyer has spent years courting Big Labor, and labor bosses have been all too happy to return favors – up until now.

In Monday’s pushback on Steyer’s new partnership, one labor leader went so far as to call the environmentalist a job killer:

Terry O’Sullivan, general president of the Laborers’ union, went even further in a separate letter to Trumka, accusing the labor federation of selling its political agenda to “a job-killing hedge fund manager with a bag of cash.” “This Super PAC creates a significant conflict between the interests of hard-working union members and the interests of those running the Super PAC,” he wrote.

This certainly puts a major dent in Steyer’s “long harbored political ambitions,” and exposes a dramatic rift between big players in the Environmentalist Left as they attempt to join forces for 2016.