Labor boss slams ‘bottom-feeding’ unions opposing pipeline

Labor boss slams ‘bottom-feeding’ unions opposing pipeline
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The head of an industrial union is slamming a coalition of unions that oppose an oil pipeline in the Midwest, calling them “bottom-feeding organizations.”

A Wednesday letter from Terry O’Sullivan to the members of the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) is the latest to highlight a wide rift between industrial unions that support the Dakota Access pipeline and five unions opposing the project.

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To LIUNA and its allies, the opposing groups are turning their backs on them in a move that could end up eliminating good-paying union jobs.

“The facts are on our side, yet in the past month, we have witnessed vocal opposition from groups, including some self-righteous unions, who know little about the project and have no job equity in it,” O’Sullivan wrote to his members.

“These unions have sided with THUGS against trade unionists. They are a group of bottom-feeding organizations that are once again trying to destroy our members’ jobs,” he said.

The letter comes in response to a September missive in opposition to the project from the Communications Workers of America, National Nurses United, Amalgamated Transit Union, American Postal Workers Union and Service Employees International Union, all of whom O’Sullivan names specifically in his letter.

They are at odds with LIUNA, the International Union of Operating Engineers, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the United Association, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and the AFL-CIO.

Those unions have asked President Obama to grant the final easement that Energy Transfer Partners needs to build its oil pipeline under Lake Oahe in North Dakota, and they have blamed the delay for lost work and various threats to workers.

O’Sullivan urged LIUNA members to “reciprocate” the actions of the anti-pipeline unions.

“Brothers and sisters, for every ACTION there is a REACTION, and we should find every opportunity to reciprocate their total disrespect and disregard for the health, safety, and livelihoods of our members,” he wrote.

“Not only have these unions joined in a common cause with the self-interested opportunists vilifying hard-working tradesmen and tradeswomen, they are knowingly repeating the lies and misinformation driving opposition to this project.”

The Dakota Access pipeline has become a flashpoint in the energy world as environmentalists and American Indian groups wage a high-profile campaign against the project.