As you may know, the Canadian government just approved the Northern Gateway pipeline, despite strong opposition within B.C. The decision has seemed inevitable for a long time, so it’s not surprising. One annoying aspect of the situation, though is that certain unions fought for this decision, without figuring out whether it was their members’ wish to do so or whether it was actually in their interest or not. Not that union pressure is going to have any sway with the Harper government (or the Clark government for that matter), but still. If unions become a force for the worse on the environment, that is very much not the type of thing we at Rated Zed had in mind when zuuko spoke out in favour of a conservative-environmental rapprochement.
The inexorable logic of construction unions is that they favour more construction jobs, no matter what it is that is being constructed. Via Erik Loomis at LGM, though, here is Trish Kahle making the point that it didn’t used to, and needn’t be this way. According to her, the way to solve the current anti-environmental turn is twofold: to ensure there is democracy within the union structure itself, and to get energy sector workers into a single organization so that going with cleaner rather than dirtier energy projects needn’t pit one set of workers against another. The piece is at Jacobin mag, so it has rather offputting Marxist language quirks, but I think it’s worth reading despite that.