AFL-CIO’s Trumka on Biden’s Keystone XL Order: ‘I Wish He Hadn’t Done That’


President of the AFL-CIO Richard Trumka speaks about his role in securing labor protections in an interview with Reuters in Washington, D.C., December 19, 2019. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said he was disappointed in President Biden’s decision to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline on his first day in office, a move that the union says will cost 1,000 existing jobs and 10,000 projected construction jobs. 

In an interview with Axios’ Jonathan Swan published Sunday, Trumka said that the Laborers’ International Union of North America was right to condemn Biden for signing an executive order to rescind the Keystone XL pipeline permit.

“I wish he hadn’t done that on the first day,” Trumka said.

“It did and will cost us jobs in the process,” he added. “I wish he had paired that more carefully with the thing that he did second by saying here’s where we’re creating jobs.”

He said that he believes Biden realized he made a mistake in not simultaneously announcing plans for job creation saying, “the next time the subject came up it was done the right way.”

He said politicians should be cognizant that Americans don’t want to move across the country for a new job out of the blue and gave credit to Biden for proposing alternatives.

“We can do mine reclamation, we can fix leaks and we can fix seeps and create hundreds of thousands of jobs in doing all of that stuff,” he said.

Trumka said that while he doesn’t know if Biden will shut down other pipelines that if he does, “he’ll pair it with job creation that will be greater than the number of jobs lost.”

He called Biden a “man of his word” and said he believes the Democrat’s promises to “create jobs, good union jobs, and be the best union president we’ve ever had.”

In response to the interview, White House spokesperson Vedant Patel told The Hill that “President Biden has proposed transformative investments in infrastructure that will not only create millions of good union jobs but also help tackle the climate crisis.”

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