It always seemed strange that organized labor has solicited the support of the environmental left in pushing for passage of the undemocratic Employee Free Choice Act. (See earlier posts.) Why make common cause with groups that oppose the kind of human activities that keeps union members employed — construction, transportation, mining and manufacturing? Especially when history tells you the environmental groups will agree on a consensus, a compromise, or a modus vivendi on an issue and then a month later file a lawsuit in federal court. (Think Northwest timber harvests.
Perhaps the tactics themselves unite these groups. Developments in California suggest as much, as recounted in Walter Olson’s post at Point of Law, “California unions’ environmental extortion“:
As California moves to license dozens of huge solar power plants to meet the state’s renewable energy goals, some developers contend they are being pressured to sign agreements pledging to use union labor. If they refuse, they say, they can count on the union group to demand costly environmental studies and deliver hostile testimony at public hearings.
If they commit at the outset to use union labor, they say, the environmental objections never materialize.
“This does stress the limits of credibility to some extent,” the California energy commissioner, Jeffrey Byron, said at one contentious hearing, “when an attorney representing a labor union is so focused on the potential impact of a solar power plant on birds.”
It seems Bob Balgenorth, chairman of the labor group accused of exploiting the environmental laws this way, “has cultivated strong ties with conservation groups”. I wonder whether there’s a tie-in with the Sierra Club’s and NRDC’s endorsement of EFCA?
So jobs or the environmenta are not at issue, just the raw use of power to accrue more power.
Eventually, of course, one side will betray the other. It’s in their nature.
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