Dakota Access opens rift in AFL-CIO and debate within labor movement

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Wed, 09/28/2016 - 8:00am to 9:00am
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GUESTS: Gregory Cendana, Exec. Dir. APALA; Roben White, local Native/union activist, Laura John, member-activist with SEIU local 503 and Rob Sisk, Pres. SEIU 503

 

 

After AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka issued a statement on September 15 (link below) harshly criticizing Native Americans and others opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline DAPL) , a growing number of progressive unions and labor organizations--many of them AFL-CIO affiliates--stepped forward to stand with the Standing Rock and other Native Nations and their allies.

While a similar conflict surfaced during the KXL pipeline controversy, it remained less openly contentious because the section that would have passed through the Dakotas was ultimately cancelled by President Obama. Now, with DAPL construction massively underway and hundreds of Native Nations uniting against the pipeline and gathered in an encampment of thousands, the battle lines are being more clearly drawn.  Perhaps Native troubadours there are singing the old United Mine Workers song from the 1930's, "Which Side Are You On?" 

Among the unions and organizations opposing the pipeline are Oregon's SEIU 503, the Pacific Coast Pensions Association--ILWU, the Labor Coalition for Community Action (which includes the A. Phillip Randolph Institute, the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, the Coalition of Labor Union Women, the labor council for Latin American Advancement, and Pride at Work), National Nurses United, ATU transit workers, California Faculty Association, Communication Workers of America, IWW Environmental unionism Caucus, National Writers Union UAW Local 1981, UE ( United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America) and others.

Today's guests are Gregory Cendana, Executive Director of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, an AFL-CIO member organization (http://www.apalanet.org/national-staff.html); Roben White, enrolled Oglala Lakota of Pine Ridge and long-time local union activist;  Laura John, Blackfeet/Seneca and member-activist of SEIU Local 503 who pushed her local to adopt a statement in support of the Standing Rock and against the DAPL, and Rob Sisk, President of SEIU Local 503.

Opening/closing song: Ani DiFranco's version of Florence Reece's 1931 classic, "Which Side Are You On?": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ag6p_bmZx-0

SEIU statement here: http://www.seiu503.org/2016/09/seiu-503-members-support-the-standing-rock-sioux-tribe/

Trumka statement:http://www.aflcio.org/Press-Room/Press-Releases/Dakota-Access-Pipeline-Provides-High-Quality-Jobs

Recent articles:

http://inthesetimes.com/working/entry/19475/afl-cio_backs_dakota_access_pipeline_and_the_family_supporting_jobs_it_prov

http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/09/20/dakota-access-foes-call-on-afl-cio-to-retract-support-of-pipeline/

http://portside.org/2016-09-22/afl-cio-constituency-groups-stand-native-americans-stop-dakota-access-pipeline