Last night I sent an email to the AFL-CIO Executive Council. I'm not part of the labor leadership. I am though in the thick of the fight on Keystone XL and the expansion of tarsands.

The Laborers are working side by side with Koch funded groups like AFP, ALEC and a new front group they created with TransCanada called Nebraskans for Jobs and Energy Independence.

Push polling, TV ads, joint rallies, echo chamber--its a coordinated campaign all to get the risky export pipeline approved.

As my letter to the AFL-CIO council explains and the detailed research lays out, the Koch brothers are using this pipeline to divide us and where does that end?

In my post over at Bold Nebraska, I detail the connections between Laborers and the various Koch funded groups.

We have witnessed this troubling relationship for several years. A few local reporters picked up on it as Nebraskans for Jobs and Energy Independence tried to pretend they were an "independent" group of concerned citizens.

For us working in the progressive community, one of the worst days on this pipeline fight was watching bus loads of union folks pour into the State Department hearing in DC. Right there you saw it, the Koch brothers and API would be proud. You had union workers yelling and mocking ranchers as they described the risks to their families land.

We can't let this go on. We can't let the Koch brothers and the Laborers ties destroy the values unions and progressives work for--opportunity for all and responsibility to future generations.

My letter to AFL-CIO Executive Council:

Dear AFL-CIO Executive Council Members,

We fight the Keystone XL pipeline because of the farmers, ranchers and tribal communities who are taking a stand for their families' land and homes. We fight this pipeline because not a drop of the tarsands oil is guaranteed for the United States. We fight this pipeline because TransCanada uses foreign steel. We fight this pipeline because the very people who would profit--the Koch brothers' refineries and API--are the very people who at every turn try to break unions and take from the middle class in order to protect their profits.

On this project, the Laborers in Nebraska formed a close and troublesome partnership with AFP, ALEC and other extreme-right groups in order to get support for this risky export pipeline. We know that in other parts of the country, and historically in Nebraska, the Laborers' union is a progressive force and a solid advocate for working people.

Our blog post and report about the Nebraska Laborers working with AFP, ALEC and the Koch brothers around Keystone XL: http://boldnebraska.org/...

We need your help.

Unions working with industry is part of business especially with respect to large infrastructure projects. But working side by side on this pipeline with groups funded by the Koch brothers that want to destroy unions long-term and who don't care about our families is a very different story.

Bold Nebraska has worked with citizens, farmers, ranchers and tribal communities to build strong opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline not only in our state but also in Canada.

Having worked with unions to pass health care reform and advocating for passage of Employee Free Choice, I know the values unions hold to protect our families and build our communities. I also understand that individual efforts can and should help build a stronger position longer-term for all unions.

This pipeline with it's connection to the Koch brothers, API, AFP and ALEC does not do that.

Please take a minute and read the blog post and report we did on how deep and troubling the relationship between the Laborers in Nebraska, AFP, ALEC and a front group they created all in the name of getting approval of this pipeline.

We can do better. Our families deserve better. If we allow the Koch brothers to divide us on this project, where will that end?

Jane Fleming Kleeb

Originally posted to janeflemingkleeb on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 09:20 AM PST.

Also republished by Climate Change SOS, Climate Hawks, Dream Menders, In Support of Labor and Unions, and DK GreenRoots.

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