Monday, May 16, 2016

Union wants to cut ties with Tom Steyer

Labor unions want to cut all ties with billionaire Tom Steyer, creating a split in labor that could spell trouble for the climate activist's push to undermine presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump.

The unions are responding to the creation of a political super PAC that Steyer announced last week with the AFL-CIO labor federation to defeat Trump in the run-up to the general election in November.

In a letter sent Monday to AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, a contingent of individual unions explained why aligning with Steyer harms their core mission and should be ended immediately.

"We write to you today in order to clear up any ambiguity about our involvement and directly inform you that we will not participate with this new super PAC in any manner," the letter reads. "Compromising our core mission as trade unionists sworn to advocate for the economic well being of our membership as a tradeoff for a perceived short-term political gain is utterly disappointing and cannot be supported by the undersigned organizations."

"Furthermore, we respectfully request that the AFL-CIO cut ties with Mr. Steyer and his political operation as we do not want any of our members' financial support for the federation to be used against them and their economic well being in pursuit of this endeavor," the letter reads, signed by the heads of eight of the largest building trade unions in the nation.

...Steyer fought vigorously to defeat the Keystone XL Pipeline project, which many unions supported as a job-creator.

"The stated rationale for this fund as published in press reports does nothing to assuage concerns that 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 says.

"This is a disturbing development and one that requires a further explanation."