Union Threatens Dems Who Oppose Keystone Pipeline

Union Threatens Dems Who Oppose Keystone Pipeline

A construction trades union is jumping into the 2014 midterms. While it isn’t surprising when a union engages in politics, this particular union is going against the usual grain for union political expenditures by using its campaign dollars to threaten Democrats. The union is going after those who oppose the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline.

The Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) is warning 27 House Democrats that they better get behind the pipeline and bring its members the jobs they’ve been waiting for.

Obama has been dragging his feet for years in an attempt to continue placating his extreme environmental activist donor base, but in February the President said he’d have a decision “one way or another” in “a couple of months.” But over a month later there is still no timeline for this decision.

The delay has LIUNA targeting Democrats ahead of this year’s midterm elections.

In a letter to constituents and union members in the Districts of these 27 Democrats, Terry O’Sullivan, the general president of LIUNA, said, “Your member of Congress is trying to destroy job opportunities for our LIUNA brothers and sisters.”

“For every action, there is a reaction, and our reaction to this frontal assault on our way of life needs to be loud and clear. If you do not stand with us, we sure as hell will not stand with you,” O’Sullivan wrote.

In another statement on Keystone, LIUNA Vice President and Midwest Regional Manager John Penn said, “While too many politicians in Washington have been studying, re-studying and then re-studying again the impact of the pipeline, men and women have been desperate for good jobs.”

Speaking of his members who are desperate for work, Penn continued saying, “Not only will this pipeline allow them to come home to a job, building the Keystone XL will secure a safe, reliable source of energy for generations from a trusted ally. That will reduce the likelihood our men and women will again have to put their lives on the line defending sources of oil in countries that are hostile to the United States.”

LIUNA isn’t just upset about the lack of movement on Keystone, either. In March O’Sullivan told The Hill, “Our anger doesn’t just stop with Keystone XL. We are extremely angry about the Affordable Care Act and the fact that there is 12.8 percent unemployment in construction.”

The Democrats targeted by LIUNA are as follows: Rush Holt (NJ); Mike Quigley (IL); Keith Ellison (MN); John Delaney (MD); Jim Moran (VA); James McGovern (MA); Chellie Pingree (Maine); Carol Shea-Porter (NH); Paul Tonko (NY); Alan Grayson (FL); Kathy Castor (FL); Hank Johnson (GA); Steve Cohen (TN); Jared Huffman (CA); Barbara Lee (CA); Mike Honda (CA); Jackie Speier (CA); Zoe Lofgren (CA); Sam Farr (CA); Judy Chu (CA) and Adam Schiff (CA); and Delegate Donna Christensen (U.S. Virgin Islands).

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at