Union: Obama threw workers 'under the bus' in Keystone decision

The main union for construction workers is accusing President Obama of throwing them “under the bus” by rejecting the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

The Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) is one of the few labor unions that broke with the majority of Democrats and supported the project, which Obama rejected Friday after a seven-year review.

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“We are dismayed and disgusted that the President has once again thrown the members of LIUNA, and other hard-working, blue-collar workers under the bus of his vaunted ‘legacy,’ while doing little or nothing to make a real difference in global climate change,” Terry O’Sullivan, the union’s general president, said in a statement. “His actions are shameful.”

The group’s statement cited a State Department report that Keystone could reduce greenhouse gas emissions when compared with oil transportation by rail.

“But facts apparently mean as little to the president as the construction jobs he repeatedly derided as insignificant because they are ‘temporary,’ ” O’Sullivan said. “Ironically, the very temporary nature of the president’s own job seems to be fueling a legacy of doing permanent harm to middle- and working class families.”

In Obama’s White House speech on the rejection, he dismissed the argument that the United States needs the jobs that Keystone would have created.

“If Congress is serious about wanting to create jobs, this was not the way to do it,” Obama said.

"If they want to do it, what we should be doing is passing a bipartisan infrastructure plan that, in the short term, could create more than 30 times as many jobs per year as the pipeline would, and in the long run would benefit our economy and our workers for decades to come."