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BISMARCK, NORTH DAKOTA (August 23, 2016) – Today, the General Presidents of four skilled craft unions, Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA), International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE), International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT), and United Association (UA), sent a letter to the North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple encouraging him to use the power of his office to protect the jobs of thousands of American workers who are lawfully constructing the Dakota Access Pipeline.
The letter acknowledges the protestors’ right to demonstrate and voice their opinions through civil debate, but calls attention to the actions that protestors have taken to occupy privately held land and halt the work of thousands of American workers:
“All supporters and opponents of the project had the equal right to voice their opinions on the project and engage in a civil debate regarding the merits of the pipeline, including in three public hearings held throughout the state. We strongly encourage you to utilize the power of your office to keep our workers safe and to ensure protestors are following the letter of the law of North Dakota.”
The General Presidents state that the actions of protestors endanger not only themselves, but construction workers and equipment, as well as local law enforcement who have been forced to bolster their local presence in response to ongoing demonstrations:
“Our men and women who earn a living on important and vital construction infrastructure projects such as Dakota Access have been asked to leave the job site while the local law enforcement contains the illegal protesters… While they may have a right to protest, we also have a right to do our jobs in a safe environment.”
The Dakota Access Pipeline, which when finished, will deliver oil from the Bakken Shale to Illinois for distribution throughout the United States, has created approximately 4,000 good construction jobs in North Dakota, along 346 miles of pipeline. For the highly skilled and trained men and women of the building trades, projects like the Dakota Access are more than just pipelines. They are crucial lifelines to family-supporting jobs.