Saturday, March 25, 2017

President's Keystone Decision 'An Important Step,' Says API's Jack Gerard

Reversing a controversial 2016 decision by his predecessor, President Donald Trump approved TransCanada Corp’s Keystone XL pipeline in an announcement March 24, calling it “a great day for jobs and energy independence.”

Sean McGarvey, president of North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU) was present at the White House for the announcement of the presidential permit.

The president had campaigned on a promise to approve the pipeline, and he followed through with an executive order to that effect in January.

The pipeline will bring more than 800,000 barrels per day of crude oil from Alberta in Canada into Nebraska.

Jack Gerard, president of the American Petroleum Institute, said the president’s decision was welcome and would strengthen America’s energy security. The Canadian government, long a supporter of the pipeline project, expressed its endorsement of President Trump’s decision as well.

The decision is likely to face legal challenges by opponents of the pipeline, who argue that the project threatens the environment.

Gerard disagreed. “Today’s action by President Trump is an important step toward increasing American competitiveness and recognizing that our industry is part of the solution to advancing U.S. economic and national security goals,” he said in a statement released March 24.

The East Central Ohio Building & Construction Trades Unions are online at

Monday, January 30, 2017

Eye on President Trump: Clearing the Way for Pipelines to Move Forward

After the presidential election in November, we pledged, as did our fellow unions across the country, to hold President Donald Trump accountable for the promises he'd made during the campaign, and his actions in the White House.

Union representatives across the country expressed support for actions taken by President Trump during his first week in office, in which he cleared the way for two major oil pipelines that had been blocked.

In an Executive Order issued on Jan. 23, the president resurrected the Keystone XL pipeline and expedited work on the Dakota Access pipeline. Both projects had been blocked by the previous administration.

In a statement issued on Jan. 27, Terry O'Sullivan, general president of the Laborers' International Union of North America (LIUNA), said: "President Trump acted boldly and decisively to pave the way for the Keystone Pipeline with an Executive Order earlier this week and we look forward to swift approval of this crucial project, which will create thousands of good jobs and unlock affordable energy."

He continued: "The refiling of Keystone XL by TransCanada signals hope for hard-working men and women who have for too long had their careers and livelihoods undermined."

The president's order came on the heels of a meeting he held at the White House Jan. 22 with representatives of America's major union organizations, including Sean McGarvey, president of the NABTU (North America's Building and Trades Unions). 

The respect that the President of the United States showed us – and when he shows it to us he shows it to three million of our members in the United States – was nothing short of incredible," said McGarvey, "and we will work with him and his administration to help him implement his plans on infrastructure, trade, and energy policy, so that we really do put America back to work in the middle class jobs that our members and all Americans are demanding."

Just as we pledged to hold President Trump accountable, we will give credit where credit is due. In his first few days in office, he acted swiftly to reach out to organized labor and support key infrastructure projects that will create jobs and put our members back to work.

Stay tuned.

The East Central Ohio Building & Construction Trades Council is online at

Monday, January 16, 2017

Right to Work: State Lawmakers' Positions That Are Wrong for Workers

In a recent article published on its website, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) cautioned unions and their members about the increasing number of government officials who are voicing support for right-to-work laws.

Missouri State House
As the article stated, "New Republican governors in Missouri and New Hampshire and an incoming GOP House majority in Kentucky mean big changes are coming for the labor community in those states."

As we pointed out on this blog last Augustworkers in right-to-work states earn almost $6,000 a year less than workers in other states. In addition, right-to-work states have:

  • Lower wages and incomes
  • Lower rates of health insurance coverage
  • Higher poverty and infant mortality rates
  • Less investment in education
  • Higher workplace fatalities

By contrast, states without right-to-work laws benefit from a higher tax base, which has the effect of improving the overall quality of life.

In the IBEW article, President Lonnie R. Stephenson said that unions would be spending "the next few years" fighting such attacks on working men and women at the state and federal levels. "Wouldn’t it be nice," he said, "if these elected officials spent less time attacking unions and a little more time working to make the middle class accessible to even more of their constituents?”

The union also cautioned against attacks on education that could negatively affect union apprenticeship programs.
The article concluded with this comment from Stephenson: “All of this just means it’s more important than ever that we in the labor movement stick together to push back against efforts to silence working people."
The East Central Ohio Building & Construction Trades Council is online at