Resolution against the Dakota Access Pipeline

Resolution against the Dakota Access Pipeline and in Favor of a Just Transition to a Clean Energy Future
[Passed at the Fall Members’ Meeting, 20th October, 2016]

WHEREAS, the $3.78 Billion, 1,172-mile Dakota Access Pipeline would carry over half a million barrels of dirty crude oil from the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota, through South Dakota and Iowa to Illinois to connect to other pipelines bringing oil to the East Coast and the Gulf; and

WHEREAS, the pipeline is slated to pass through the tribal lands of Standing Rock Sioux near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, and underneath the Missouri River, the main source of water for the tribe, explicitly against the tribe’s stated wishes; and

WHEREAS, the pipeline desecrates the ancestral burial grounds of the Standing Rock Sioux; and

WHEREAS, energy development projects constitute a key mechanism by which the sovereignty of Native American tribes is further undermined following centuries of active colonization; and

WHEREAS, millions of workers, including many union members, and their families and communities live in the path of the proposed pipeline; and

WHEREAS, the transport of heavy crude is particularly volatile, leading to 18.4 million gallons of oils and chemicals spilled, leaked, or released into the air, land, and waterways between 2006 and 2014 in North Dakota alone, causing death, contamination of soil and water, and disease of many kinds; and

WHEREAS, scientists have warned that in order to avoid wide-scale, catastrophic climate disruption, the vast majority of known remaining fossil fuel reserves must be left untouched and “in the ground;” and

WHEREAS, Native American water protectors and their supporters have been brutally attacked by private security forces with attack dogs and pepper spray; and

WHEREAS, Native Americans and other activists defending their land and water have the same right to defend their land and engage in protest as workers who are protesting the actions of an unfair employer; and

WHEREAS, the U.S. Congress has repealed the ban on exporting oil, meaning that the oil transported by the pipeline is likely to be sold overseas and not contribute to US energy independence; and

WHEREAS, we know catastrophic climate change presents a far greater threat to the livelihoods of workers; and

WHEREAS, many large corporations, and especially energy corporations, have been putting profits ahead of the common good of workers, the public, and the environment, and these corporations have been granted the unjust constitutional rights and powers of personhood, with the doctrine of money as speech through activist Supreme Court decisions thereby diminishing democracy and the voice and power of the people; and

WHEREAS, numerous national and international unions have already passed resolutions against construction of the pipeline, including National Nurses United, the Amalgamated Transit Union, the Communications Workers of America, the Service Employees International Union, the United Electrical Workers, and others; and

WHEREAS, the actual number of permanent full-time jobs projected to be created by the Dakota Access Pipeline numbers less than twenty; and

WHEREAS, more long term, good paying jobs would be created by investing in sustainable energy infrastructure projects using already existing technologies while at the same time reducing the pollution that creates greenhouse gases; and

WHEREAS, we support the rights of our union brothers and sisters building the pipeline to work in safe environments at jobs that are consistent with respect for the environment and the rights and safety of communities at the front lines of the People’s Climate struggle; therefore be it

RESOLVED, that we of Graduate Students United at the University of Chicago (AFT/AAUP) join in solidarity with Native American water protectors, their allies, and our fellow graduate employee union locals, including:

·      GEU-UAW Local 6950 at the University of Connecticut

·      GSOC-UAW Local 2110 at New York University

·      GEO-UAW Local 2322 at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst

·      University of California Student-Workers Union-UAW Local 2865

·      Academic Student-Employees-UAW Local 4123 at the California State University

·      I.F.T./A.F.T. Local 6300 AFL-CIO at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

We call upon the United States Federal Government to make permanent the moratorium on construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline by revoking permits for construction issued by the Army Corps of Engineers; and be it further

RESOLVED, that GSU-UChicago calls on the labor movement to support a just transition to a renewable energy economy and investment in the construction of a nationwide sustainable energy infrastructure that will address the growing threat of climate change and its consequent droughts, floods, fires, crop failures, species extinctions, and other dire consequences of global climate change, and furthermore urges the AFL-CIO and LiUNA to reverse their condemnable and falsely defended statements in support of the Dakota Access Pipeline; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the GSU-UChicago urges the members of GSU, other graduate employee union locals, the American Federation of Teachers and the American Association of University Professors, and the rest of the labor movement to join us and other graduate employee union locals in becoming actively involved in promoting a just transition to a sustainable alternative energy economy that protects ecological integrity and respects the rights of all working people to good paying and safe jobs, human rights, and justice for all.