Resistance is mounting against a move by the environmentalists to further take over the labor movement in the U.S.. This effort dates to 2006, with the foundation of the BlueGreen Alliance, as a counter to Lyndon LaRouche's efforts to prevent the destruction of the Detroit-based machine tool industry. Heralded by such dupes as AFL-CIO's Richard Trumka as an effort to "expand the membership" of the flagging organization, the intent is to turn the labor movement into modern brown shirts, defending The Earth and shunning any technological innovation.
Leading into this weekend's convention, Trumka addressed a gaggle of labor, environmentalist, women's and gender-challenged groups, telling them that that "we know we're in a crisis right now," and that "none of us are strong enough... [or] big enough," to challenge the 1% by ourselves. A statement on the D.C. Labor Council's website added that, for the last six months, all parties involved had been participating in "listening sessions" in advance of the convention.
How that fight carried over into the convention is chronicled today in an article in D.C.'s The Hill newspaper, religiously read by legislative functionaries. Terry O'Sullivan, president of the Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA) said of Trumka's initiative, "Does that mean we are going to turn energy policy of the AFL-CIO over to the Sierra Club? I have concern about that, as well as I should." The paper notes that, in 2012, LIUNA left the BlueGreen Alliance "due to some of its members' criticism of the Keystone pipeline," a project that, to the union, meant jobs.
The fight is being led, however, by the Building and Construction Trades Department, likely because they are the most immediately threatened by Obama-endorsed "green job" program for bringing in an army of low-skilled, low-pay workers to "green" (weatherize) older homes. Trumka and friends already had to scale back their original proposal, backing off over half of it, because of the potential backlash. Last month, President Sean McGarvey told the Wall Street Journal that, "Giving [outside groups] a seat where they have governance, and they don't represent workers, that was a bridge too far for lots of folks." After the convention, International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) head Harold Schaitberger told The Hill, "This is the American Federation of Labor [AFL]. We are supposed to be representing workers and workers' interests. We are not going to be the American Federation of Progressive and Liberal Organizations."
The BlueGreen Alliance was formed in 2006 as a cooperative between the United Steel Workers of America and the Sierra Club, in the wake of the 2005 destruction of the auto industry. Headed by USW's Leo Girard and Michael Brune of the Sierra Club, it features Phil Angelides and Robert Borosage on the board, along with members of the Communications Workers (CWA) and United Auto Workers unions, and representatives from the Union of Concerned Scientists, National Resources Defense Council and National Wildlife Federation, among others. From here is where all the noise of "green jobs" grew.