You are here

SEIU Local 1199

Unions Congratulate the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe on Denial of Authorization for the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL)

Statement from 1199 SEIU; Amalgamated Transit Union; Brotherhood of Maintenance and Way Employees Division, Pennsylvania Federation–Teamsters; National Domestic Workers Alliance; National Nurses United; New York State Nurses Association; United Electrical Workers - Trade Unions for Energy Democracy, December 9, 2016

We are unions representing members in health care, domestic work, public transit, railroads, manufacturing and other sectors.

We congratulate leaders of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and thousands of supporters for the news that the federal government will deny authorization for the Dakota Access Pipeline to go through tribal lands posing a threat to water sources and sacred sites.

The Obama Administration’s decision respects the sacred grounds of the Standing Rock Sioux and takes into consideration the potential of a hazardous pipeline leak that would harm the community’s life and livelihood.

This is a historic victory, and an organizing victory that every union member can identify with, against one of the most powerful economic and political forces in the world: the fossil fuel industry and its many allies inside and outside government. These forces have used private police that have not hesitated in using violence to intimidate those participating in peaceful protest.

Mindful of our own history in facing private police and vigilantes in the fight to establish workers’ rights, trade unionists have stood shoulder to shoulder with the First Nation water protectors, environmental and community supporters, and many allies who have mobilized and rallied for months against huge odds.

Our unions will continue to join with opponents of the Dakota Pipeline along other routes and fight to halt similar projects that transport dirty crude oil that jeopardize public health and contribute to the climate crisis.

We also stand in solidarity with the construction workers who build our country’s infrastructure, and also with the workers in coal, oil and gas, many of whom have lost their jobs due to the collapse in global prices. In accordance with the Paris Climate Agreement, we call for a “just transition” for workers whose jobs and livelihoods may be threatened by the move away from fossil fuels.

But there is much work to be done in modernizing and repairing bridges, roads, tunnels, public transit systems, etc., many of which have become dilapidated and dangerous to workers and the public.  But jobs based on expanding (and exporting) fossil fuels will simply lead to more environmental destruction, worsening health, climate instability and social upheaval at home and abroad.  Business as usual is not an option.

Together we can demand the development of sustainable energy production and resource initiatives that unequivocally provide good, safe union jobs while salvaging the health and well-being of the earth’s population.

Our future depends on our willingness to engage and organize among progressive forces and social movements in order to effectively meet the challenges ahead.

President Obama: Keystone XL Pipeline “Would Not Serve National Interest”

By Staff - Trade Unions for Energy Democracy, November 6, 2015

National Nurses United rally against Keystone X-L, Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, 2013

President Obama has announced his support for US Secretary of State John Kerry’s rejection of the long-proposed Keystone XL Pipeline project, which would have brought Canadian tar sands oil to the Texas south coast for shipping overseas. Supporters of real action to address climate change and energy democracy are celebrating the announcement.

US Trade Union Opposition to Keystone XL:

Research has shown the pipeline posed serious threats to the environment, safety and economies of communities along its route, while promises that the project would be a major creator of jobs were unfounded. For more on these issues, please see:

U.S. unions fighting climate change with innovative campaigns

By Elizabeth Perry - Work and Climate Change Report, November 7, 2017

Labour and climate activists gathered to exchange experiences and plan for future action at the Second Labor Convergence on Climate event, held on September 23-24, under the banner “Building Worker Power to Confront Climate Change.”  The meeting was hosted by the Labor Network for Sustainability (LNS), which  recently released a report on the meetings  summarizing the impressive initiatives and projects,  including:  the Canadian Postal Workers Union proposal Delivering Community Power,  which envisions expansion and re-purposing of the postal station network to provide electric vehicle charging stations, farm-to-table food delivery, and  community banking ; the International Brotherhood of Teamsters described the San Francisco Zero Waste program that now diverts 80% of municipal waste from landfills into recycling and composting and provides union jobs; Service Employees International Union (SEIU) 1199  described their environmental and climate justice programs, resulting from the impact of disasters  like Superstorm Sandy;  worker training programs at the Net-Zero Energy training facility built by the  International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 595 in partnership with the Northern California National Electrical Contractors Association; the United Food and Commercial Workers described their experience with the  Good Food Purchasing Policy as a tool for protecting and enhancing labor standards for workers in the food industry and advancing climate justice; and the International Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen profiled their successful Green Diesel campaign to win cleaner fuel engines and a visionary strategy called  “Solutionary Rail” ,  profiled in “How we can turn railroads into a climate solution”  in Grist (March 2017) and in “ Electric Trains everywhere – A Solution to crumbling roads and climate crisis”  in  YES Magazine (May 2017).

Participants at the Second Labor Convergence on Climate included over 130 people –  labour union leaders, organizers, and rank and file activists from 17 unions, 3 state federations/central labor councils and 6 labor support organizations,  as well as environmental and economic justice activists.

Largest Healthcare Union in the Nation, 1199SEIU, Calls for Clean Energy Jobs Instead of Dirty Fuel Pipelines

By George Gresham - SEIU 1199, January 26, 2017

“As union members, we know that the #1 priority for working Americans is good jobs and economic progress. That is one of the major reasons why we strongly oppose the construction of any dirty fuel pipelines, including Dakota Access and Keystone XL. Oil, coal and gas are relics of the old economy that create few permanent jobs while costing Americans billions of dollars related to health problems from pollution and clean-ups from spills.

“On the other hand, clean energy from solar, wind and wave power would create millions of good jobs without toxic pollution. We need massive public and private investment in clean energy manufacturing, construction, and innovation to rebuild the American middle class. Right now, other countries are taking leadership in the global clean energy market, building solar panels and wind turbines and installing them around the world in the absence of American initiative. America should be leading the global clean energy economy, but instead we are giving away billions to oil, coal and gas companies and American workers are being left behind.

“Not only are pipelines the wrong direction for American workers, they are disastrous for human health, which we know firsthand as healthcare workers. Time and time again, spills from pipelines have contaminated drinking water and land. The process of digging up, transporting, refining and burning dirty fuel is toxic and increases rates of sickness and death from asthma, cancer and other diseases.

“The Dakota Access Pipeline threatens the drinking water of Native Americans, and also defiles sacred cultural lands. After all that indigenous people have been through, the Standing Rock Sioux deserve respect for their land, water and religious values.

“Finally, wasting resources on pipelines and dirty fuel infrastructure worsens climate change, which poses a severe threat to American security and human civilization. Climate change increases the spread of dangerous diseases like Zika, Chikungunya and West Nile; causes droughts, floods, extinctions, fires and superstorms; creates civil unrest, food shortages, war and climate refugees; and has a disproportionate impact on the health and safety of working people and people of color.

“It is a proven fact, not an alternative fact, that burning dirty fuels is causing dangerous, runaway climate change. We must make the transition to a clean energy economy now in order to create millions of good jobs, rebuild the American middle class, and avert catastrophe. We call on people of good conscience throughout our country and our world to join thousands of healthcare workers at the March for Climate, Jobs & Justice in Washington, D.C. on April 29th. Together we can stand up for our vision of a new, just economy for working people with clean water, air and energy.”

5 Unions Oppose Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline and Efforts to Force Its Approval

By National Nurses United, 1199 SEIU Health Care Workers East, Amalgamated Transit Union, New York State Nurses Association, and National Domestic Workers Alliance - November 18, 2014

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

We are five unions/workers organizations representing workers in nursing, health and domestic care, and public transport.

We are opposed to the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. If fully constructed, it will bring dirty tar sands oil through the United States and to the global oil market at a time when we should be drawing the line against the most carbon polluting fossil fuel in order to protect public health, defend the rights of farmers, ranchers and native communities, and avoid out of control levels of global warming and climate instability.

Climate change is already wreaking havoc in areas of the world - like the Caribbean, the Philippines and Central and South America - where many of our members have families and loved ones. The present drought in California, the wildfires across the Western and Central United States, and killer storms like Katrina and Sandy are enough to demonstrate that climate change is also affecting the United States.

From the ground to the pipe to the refineries, Keystone XL's tar sands oil, with its thick, dirty, corrosive properties, poses a clear and present danger to public health. Toxic contaminants in the massive water needed for extraction are infecting clean water supplies, with towns nearby in Alberta experiencing spikes in cancer deaths, renal failure, lupus, and hyperthyroidism. Huge pipeline spills near Marshall, MI and Mayflower, AR have led to respiratory ailments and other health ills. Pollutants from tar sands refineries are linked to heart and lung disease, asthma, and cancer. Federal policy should be guided by the precautionary principle and must uphold public health and safety above all else.

The Keystone XL jobs numbers claimed by the oil industry and its backers in Congress are not based on sound research. The southern leg of the pipeline has already been built, and yet the job numbers the oil industry and their political allies claim will be created by the project seem to keep on rising.

We are for jobs. There is no shortage of water and sewage pipelines that need to be fixed or replaced, bridges and tunnels that are in need of emergency repair, transportation infrastructure that needs to be renewed and developed. Many thousands of jobs could also be created in energy conservation, upgrading the grid, maintaining and expanding public transportation--jobs that can help us reduce air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, and improve energy efficiency.

Congress is not set up to be a permitting authority, and this pipeline doesn't even have an approved route. The ongoing review process should continue, and the decades-long precedent of having the Executive Branch make decisions on cross-border projects should not be overturned.

The Fine Print I:

Disclaimer: The views expressed on this site are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) unless otherwise indicated and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s, nor should it be assumed that any of these authors automatically support the IWW or endorse any of its positions.

Further: the inclusion of a link on our site (other than the link to the main IWW site) does not imply endorsement by or an alliance with the IWW. These sites have been chosen by our members due to their perceived relevance to the IWW EUC and are included here for informational purposes only. If you have any suggestions or comments on any of the links included (or not included) above, please contact us.

The Fine Print II:

Fair Use Notice: The material on this site is provided for educational and informational purposes. It may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. It is being made available in an effort to advance the understanding of scientific, environmental, economic, social justice and human rights issues etc.

It is believed that this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have an interest in using the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. The information on this site does not constitute legal or technical advice.