As Hillary Clinton locks up the Democratic nomination, environmentalists and unions are quickly jumping on the Team Hillary bandwagon. Earlier today the AFL-CIO announced its endorsement of Clinton, following in the footsteps of billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer who endorsed her last week.
Steyer and Big Labor have recently made headlines for all the wrong reasons. Last month, The AFL-CIO, AFSCME, American Federation of Teachers and the NEA announced its partnership with Steyer’s NextGen super PAC to help elect a Democratic president. The announcement rankled unions members, creating a split in their alliance. The building unions were incensed by the announcement and called on AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka to end the union’s partnership with Steyer.
The building unions accused Trumka of selling out their long-standing principles to partner with an environmentalist that works against their own interests. A letter signed by eight heads of the building trade unions accused Trumka of letting the fox in the henhouse:
“‘The AFL-CIO has now officially become infiltrated by financial and political interests that work in direct conflict to many of our members’— and yes, AFL-CIO dues-paying members’ lives,’ the letter continued. ‘This is a disturbing development and one that requires a further explanation.’”
The letter goes on to specifically call out Tom Steyer for hurting union members:
“‘Unfortunately, a growing trend within the Federation seems to consistently minimize the importance of Building Trades jobs and our members’ livelihoods in the pursuit of a coalition strategy with outside organizations that has produced mixed results at best and disastrous results at worst for our members and their employment prospects in many instances throughout the country,’ the union officials wrote.”
“‘The latest disturbing example of this dubious big tent strategy that has, in many instances, been detrimental to the economic well being of our members, is the reported formation of the aforementioned Super PAC that will be dominated by funds from billionaire activists Tom Steyer,’ they wrote.”
The building trade unions have a reason to be concerned. Steyer’s top priority in 2014 was to kill the Keystone XL pipeline, a project that would have created high-paying union jobs.