AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka slammed Joe Biden during an interview that aired in part on Sunday over his executive order that canceled the Keystone XL Pipeline, which cost a lot of people their jobs.
“Organized labor is crucial to the Biden coalition. But there are significant tensions among environmentalists, the president’s team addressing climate change and some parts of the labor movement,” Axios reported. “The Laborers’ International Union of North America said the Keystone decision will cost 1,000 existing union jobs and 10,000 projected construction jobs.”
“Well, I wish he had not done that on the first day because the Labor’s International was right, it did and will cost us jobs in the process,” Trumka said. “I wish he had paired that more carefully with the thing that he did second by saying, here’s where we are creating jobs, we can do mine reclamation, we can fix leaks, and we can fix seeps, and create hundreds of thousands in doing all of that stuff.”
Trumka said that he “thinks” that Biden realizes it was a mistake to sign the executive order costing Americans jobs during the middle of a pandemic.
Trumka was then asked if he agreed with the following statement from the Laborers’ International Union of North America:
“We support the president’s campaign to Build Back Better. Killing good union jobs on day 1 with nothing to replace them is not building back better.”
“Yes,” Trumka responded in agreement with the statement. Regarding how comfortable he was with Biden’s plan to ban fracking on federal lands, Trumka paused for several moments before saying that it needed to be studied and thought through.
“If you destroy 100 jobs in Greene County, Pennsylvania, where I grew up, and you create 100 jobs in California, it doesn’t do those 100 families much good,” Trumka said. “If you’re looking at a pipeline and you’re saying we’re going to put it down, now what are you going to do to create the same good-paying jobs in that area?”
“You know, when they laid off at the mines back in Pennsylvania, they told us they were going to train us to be computer programmers,” he continued. “And I said, ‘Where are the computer programmer jobs at?’ ‘Uh, they’re in, uh, Oklahoma and they’re in Vegas and they’re here.’ And I said, ‘So, in other words, what we’re going to be is unemployed miners and unemployed computer programmers as well.’”
Trumka noted that “culture” is “very, very important” to union members and that politicians in Washington, D.C., do not understand.
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