Mark McManus, president of the Union of Plumbers, Fitters, Welders, & Service Techs and Terry O’Sullivan, president of the Laborers’ International Union of North America appeared on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Wednesday morning to discuss President Trump’s infrastructure plans and recent executive actions to advance the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines.
Trump’s support for the pipeline projects came a day after McManus and O’Sullivan joined other union leaders at the White House for a meeting with President Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and other top aids for a conversation on the nation’s infrastructure needs.
Speaking about Dakota Access, O’Sullivan told co-host Joe Scarborough that the project created thousands of “good middle class jobs,” including 4,500 building trades men and women.
In a separate appearance, McManus and O’Sullivan told Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC’s “Hardball” that they were “more than encouraged” by their meeting with Trump and his subsequent executive actions to advance the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines.
“This was a big day,” said O’Sullivan. “Less than 24 hours ago we were in the Roosevelt Room and the Oval Office — Mark, myself, and some other labor leaders — talking about these very issues and in less than 24 hours there’s five executive orders that are going to make a difference in our economy, our country, and in the lives of men and women we represent.”
For more than two years, the five skilled craft unions have shown their support for the Dakota Access Pipeline as it was reviewed, exhaustively vetted, and then approved by four states and federal regulators. And recently, the AFL-CIO lent their support for the project as well.
The members of the labor organizations that support and will build the Dakota Access Pipeline deserve to have their voices heard. The admiration should allow the Dakota Access Pipeline to finish construction.
Five of the nation’s top skilled craft unions are urging the Obama administration to allow the Dakota Access Pipeline project to proceed without further delay.
In a letter to President Obama, the general presidents of the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE), International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Laborers’ International Union of North America (LiUNA), United Association (UA), and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) condemned the administration’s eleventh hour decision to halt work on a portion of the $3.8 billion infrastructure project.
“The intervention by the Departments of Justice, Interior, and the U.S. Army to indefinitely halt a project that is more than halfway constructed and has received state and federal approval raises serious concerns about the future of infrastructure development in America, and the livelihoods of our members,” the letter reads.
“We urge you to adhere to the well-established regulatory process for permitting private infrastructure projects and approve the easement for the remaining section of the Dakota Access project without delay.”
According to union leaders, the project delays imposed by the White House have already resulted in lost jobs and threaten many more. “The project is being built with an all-union workforce and workers are earning family-sustaining wages, with family health care and retirement contributions. However, the project delays are already putting members out of work and causing hardships for thousands of families.”
In an announcement today, the General Presidents of four unions: Laborers International Union of North America (LiUNA), the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE), the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT), and the United Association (UA) announced that they have sent a letter to North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple. The letter requests that the governor use all the resources at his disposal to protect the hard-earned jobs of thousands of American men and women.
The release highlights the opportunity both supporters and opponents of the pipeline had to voice their opinions before the North Dakota Public Service Commission three times last year and calls attention to the actions of protestors that have endangered the safety of both construction workers and law enforcement.
According to the release, “Our men and women who earn a living on important and vital construction infrastructure projects such as Dakota Access have been asked to leave the job site while the local law enforcement contains the illegal protesters… While they may have a right to protest, we also have a right to do our jobs in a safe environment.”