“Standing Rock Solid with the Frackers: Are the Trades Putting Labor’s Head in the Gas Oven? is a new article by Sean Sweeney, examining the divisions in the U.S. labour movement over the Dakota Access Pipeline. The article , originally published in New Labor Forum and re-posted and updated on the website of Trade Unions for Energy Democracy on October 14 , describes the pro-pipeline statements of the North American Building Trades Unions (NABTU) , and, like Jeremy Brecher’s article on the same issue , Sweeney sees NABTU as the driving force behind the AFL-CIO’s energy positions. Likening the current dispute to the internal division over the Keystone XL Pipeline, Sweeney states that “The DAPL fight suggests that the split in labor is deepening.” Sweeney pays particular attention to (and promises a future article about ) the Laborers’ International Union (LIUNA)’s Clean Power Progress campaign, launched in June 2016 to support natural gas as a clean, bridging fuel – with the glaring omission of any mention of the emissions of fracking. The article concludes: “For now, having waged a successful putsch, NABTU is the voice of the AFL-CIO regarding a big chunk of labor’s energy policy. The Federation’s reputation is now so low that it seems to be no longer concerned about ‘reputational damage.’ By linking arms with Standing Rock Sioux, progressive labor is keeping alive the best traditions of labor environmentalism pioneered by Tony Mazzocchi and the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers in the 1970s.”
Further updates on the DAPL front: Protests and arrests continue as recently as October 22. But in what is seen as a victory victory for freedom of the press, on October 18 a judge dismissed trespassing and riot charges against reporter Amy Goodman, the reporter for Democracy Now whose video ignited support for the Standing Rock Sioux Nation protest. Read the transcript of Amy Goodman’s reaction here , and complete Democracy Now coverage of the DAPL protests here . For a summary of the judge’s decision, see the New York Times report .