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Transport Wokers Union of America (TWU)

(Re)constructing the Pipeline: Workers, Environmentalists and Ideology in Media Coverage of the Keystone XL Pipeline

By Erik D. Kojola - Sage Publications, August 20, 2015

Environmental protection is presumed to damper economic growth and media accounts of resource extraction often portray trade-offs between jobs and the environment. However, there is limited evidence that environmental protection universally costs jobs and heavily polluting industries provide few jobs in comparison to environmental impacts.

Therefore, how has media discourse contributed to the taken-for-granted division between the economy and the environment? This paper uses the Keystone XL pipeline controversy as a case of the symbolical conflict between supporters of growth and conservation to explore the role of ideology and power in media discourse.

I use frame analysis of newspaper articles to explore the representations of labor and the environment and how hegemonic ideology legitimizes resource extraction. My analysis reveals binary framing that constructed the pipeline as a political controversy over the trade-off between the environment and the economy, which made conflict between workers and environmentalists sensible, and silenced alternatives.

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Labor’s Route to a New Transportation System: How Federal Transportation Policy Can Create Good Jobs, First-Rate Mobility, and Environmentally Sustainable Communities

By staff - Cornell University Global Labor Institute, July 2011

Federal transportation policy is set every five to six years through the Surface Transportation Authorization Act. This policy largely shapes investment in our nation’s transportation system. Currently, only unions whose members are employed in the transport sector play a role in trying to influence federal transportation legislation, but the Reauthorization Act is hugely important to all union members and working people. The current legislation, Safe, Accountable, Flexible Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA -LU ) expires September 30, 2011. The reauthorization of federal transportation policy presents an important opportunity for union leaders and members to advocate for key policy reforms that will create good union jobs, defend and expand the role of the public sector in transportation, provide safe and affordable mobility to working families and reduce the transport sector’s contribution to air pollution and climate change.

The state of the U.S. transportation system determines working families’ access to affordable, high-quality mobility and, in turn, their ability to meet essential needs such as getting to work, school, medical services, recreation and more. The maintenance and operation of private vehicles consumes a growing portion of working families’ household budgets and puts owning and operating a vehicle completely out of reach for some. The impact of rising gas prices on working families’ mobility exacerbates the fact that only 50% of Americans have access to public transit. (need citation) Furthermore, in response to budget shortfalls, local governments have increased fares, laid off workers, reduced transit services and offered up public transit systems to privatization.

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