Planet Gore

Obama’s vs. Unions

Detroit — The fruits of President Obama’s UAW Bailout of GM and Chrysler were on loud display in Metro Detroit Tuesday night as UAW President Bob King and 1,000 Astroturf union protestors launched a $70 million, dues-funded, “99 Percent Spring” protest outside a Michigan Republican fundraiser for embattled Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. Obama and his party are heavily dependent on Big Labor dues to stay in power, and saving the UAW was a crucial piece of the 2009 federal takeover of the Detroit auto industry. (So is recalling governors like Walker and Michigan’s Rick Snyder whose public employee pay reforms also threaten the dues take of labor leaders and their Democratic puppets.)

But look outside union strongholds like the upper Midwest, and Obama’s claimed support of the working man is highly selective. Indeed, Obama’s ideological war on the oil and coal industries is breeding angry union enemies as Obama’s green theology gets the better of his blue-collar empathy.

This is a hostility that may well cost him the election.

Obama has made Michigan his second home — particularly the offices of UAW Chief King — but he is increasingly unwelcome elsewhere.

“With United Mine Workers President Cecil Roberts likening EPA head Lisa Jackson’s treatment of the coal industry to the Navy Seals taking out Osama bin Laden and hinting the UMW may not endorse President Obama for re-election, it is considered certain that West Virginia’s five electoral votes will be in the Republican column this fall,” reports Human Events’ John Gizzi about the Obama EPA’s latest greenhouse emissions rules that effectively eliminate new coal plants — endangering blue-collar employment in coal states like West Virginia that were once reliably in the Democratic column.

Some 40,000 residents work in coal-related jobs in the Mountain State. As a result, Republican electoral chances are looking up, from the gubernatorial race to a contested U.S. Senate seat.

“In large part, what’s spurring all of this,” explains state GOP Rep. John Overington, “is what we refer to as ‘Obama’s war on coal.’”

Obama is at war with another 20,000 jobs — an estimated 5,000-7,000 of them union construction jobs — in his campaign against the Keystone XL pipeline that would carry oil from Canada right through America’s heartland to the Golf coast. The president’s opposition to satisfy Greens’ anti-carbon agenda led two union leaders, Laborers’ president Terry O’Sullivan and Building Trades Department president Mark Ayers, to blast the decision, reports The People’s World, a union publication.

“The score is job-killers, two, American workers, zero,” said O’Sullivan. “We are completely and totally disappointed. This is politics at its worst. Once again the president has sided with environmentalists instead of blue collar construction workers, even though environmental concerns were more than adequately addressed. Blue collar construction workers across the U.S. will not forget this.”

With friends like these, who needs enemies?

“With a national unemployment rate in construction at 16 percent, it is beyond disappointing that President Obama placed a higher priority on politics rather than our nation’s number one challenge: jobs,” Ayers added.

The UAW’s King, by contrast, has embraced Obama’s radical green agenda — apparently convinced that billions in electric car subsidies secured in the auto bailouts will create union jobs. Those billions will also feed Democrat-bound, union political coffers to protest governors like Scott Walker and Rick Snyder.

“We are the 99 Percent,” chanted union protestors outside Governor Walker’s speech on Tuesday. But in other industrial states, union leaders are tired of Obama policies that benefit green One Percenter boondoggles at Solyndra and Evergreen Solar while shutting down jobs in the oil and coal fields.

Henry Payne — Henry Payne is the auto critic for the Detroit News.

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