It is clear that most labor unions are more enthusiastic about the Biden administration than they were to operate under President Donald Trump — but one of the nation’s most powerful union leaders is apparently feeling some remorse.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka expressed his displeasure over certain early moves being made by President Joe Biden.
“I wish he hadn’t done that”
According to the Daily Caller, Trumka was particularly upset over Biden’s plans to cancel the permit for the Keystone XL oil pipeline and indicated skepticism of additional actions meant to address climate change.
The union boss’s remarks came during a recent interview with Axios reporter Jonathan Swan, and he did not appear to conceal his discomfort and disappointment. Trumka agreed with the Laborers’ International Union of North America in concluding that Biden jeopardized thousands of U.S. jobs by canceling the pipeline without a solid plan to compensate for the impact.
“Well, I wish he hadn’t done that on the first day,” he said.
Swan asked him if he agreed with the LIUNA criticism that “killing good union jobs on Day One with nothing to replace them is not building back better,” referencing the Biden campaign’s oft-repeated slogan.
“Yes,” Trumka answered, going on to generally defend the president while warning him to be more thoughtful of union workers in the future.
“He’s a man of his word”
When pressed on Biden’s plans to curtail hydraulic fracturing on federal land, Trumka said the move needs to be “studied,” though Swan noted that the president is following through on his promise.
“I’m sure if he promised to do it he probably will because he promised to shut down XL,” the union leader added. “He’s a man of his word. But he’s also promised to create jobs, good union jobs, and be the best union president that we’ve ever had, and I believe he’ll do that as well.”
For his part, Biden and his top advisers have assured Americans that “millions” of new “green” jobs will materialize at some point — but union leaders are increasingly skeptical.
The LIUNA, which endorsed Biden, issued a recent statement accusing him of “pandering to environmental extremists,” proclaiming that no renewable energy jobs “come even close to replacing the wages and benefits the Keystone XL project would have provided.”
Rejecting dubious promises to retrain those displaced workers, Trumka concluded: “If you destroy 100 jobs in Greene County, Pennsylvania, where I grew up, and you create 100 jobs in California, it doesn’t do those 100 families much good.”