Trade unions representing laid-off Keystone XL workers silent after report shows thousands of job losses
Four labor unions representing workers on the Keystone XL pipeline project were silent this week when asked about a recent federal report showing the significant economic consequences of shutting the project down.
The Laborers International Union of North America, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT), the International Union of Operating Engineers and the United Association of Union Plumbers and Pipefitters (UA) didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment from Fox News Digital when asked about the report. The four unions had reached an agreement with the pipeline’s operator TC Energy in August 2020 to represent thousands of project workers.
‘The Keystone XL pipeline project will put thousands of Americans, including Teamsters, to work in good union jobs that will support working families,’ Jim Hoffa, the former general president of the IBT, said after the agreement was announced. ‘We believe in supporting projects which prioritize the creation of good jobs through much-needed infrastructure development.’
However, months later, in January 2021, President Biden nixed the pipeline’s federal permits as part of his climate agenda, stating that the U.S. ‘must prioritize the development of a clean energy economy.’ TC Energy withdrew from the project in June 2021 as a result of Biden’s decision despite Republican states’ efforts to force the federal government to reinstate the permits.
The cancelation of the pipeline project ultimately resulted in the loss of between 16,149 and 59,468 construction jobs that would have lasted roughly two years and would have had a positive economic impact of between $3.4-9.6 billion, according to a Department of Energy (DOE) report released late last month. The overdue report, which was ordered by a bipartisan infrastructure bill passed in November 2021, was published without a public announcement.
The report sparked widespread condemnation from Republican lawmakers who argued it proved the decision to ax the pipeline was misguided and harmful.
‘The Biden administration finally owned up to what we have known all along — killing the Keystone XL Pipeline cost good-paying jobs, hurt Montana’s economy and was the first step in the Biden administration’s war on oil and gas production in the United States,’ Sen. Steve Daines. R-Mont., said in a statement last week.
‘Unfortunately, the administration continues to pursue energy production anywhere but the United States,’ he said.
Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, added that the report showed the administration ‘sacrificed thousands of American jobs.’
In a statement to Fox News Digital last week, the DOE pushed back on criticism, saying its report determined the project would have created ‘approximately 50 permanent jobs.’ The agency didn’t acknowledge the thousands of jobs that would have been created over the two-year construction period.
And in addition to its report, the project labor agreement (PLA) that TC Energy entered into with the four labor union promised the pipeline would create 42,000 ‘family-sustaining’ jobs and provide $2 billion in total wages.
‘This project will bring good paying jobs to our members, all while keeping energy costs low and delivering a boost to local communities and their economies,’ UA President Mark McManus said at the time. ‘We’re ready to get to work.’
The four labor unions that were part of the PLA and which ignored requests for comment from Fox News Digital endorsed Biden ahead of the 2020 presidential election.
In August 2020, McManus said Biden would be a ‘fierce ally’ to the union and Hoffa stated the Teamsters ‘have a friend in Joe Biden.’
Keystone XL had been slated to be completed early this year and transport an additional 830,000 barrels of crude oil from Canada to the U.S. through an existing pipeline network, according to TC Energy.