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Steelworkers dump PowerUp: 'We're pulling our support'

PowerUp Canada executive director Tzeporah Berman's vocal opposition to the provincial New Democrats climate change plank has cost her organization the support of the United Steelworkers, Public Eye has learned.

PowerUp Canada's website highlighted the union as one of its backers. And, at publication time, it still featured this quote from the United Steelworkers' national director Ken Neumann: "We are committed to being part of this bold plan to take action to develop and use climate-safe technologies to reduce harmful emissions. Steelworkers know that investing in clean energy will provide the kind of permanent jobs that Canada needs right now."

Neumann explained the Steelworkers are "very much involved with the Blue Green Alliance in the U.S." - a coalition of labour unions and environmental organizations working to increase the number of green jobs south of the border. "And we're just launching the Blue Green Alliance in Canada. And we have a strategic alliance with Environmental Defence. And we recognize, as a labour organization, that green jobs and the environment go hand in hand."

As a result, in January, the Steelworkers signed on to support Berman's proposal to establish a Green Economy Action Fund – which calls for "federal investments and low-interest loans to stimulate the green economy and catalyze provincial action."

But, according to Neuman, "when this news story broke with regards to her position towards the NDP - our union has never been shy about where we stand as far as support, as a matter of fact we have five Steelworker candidates that are running as part of Carole James's team - we notified (Berman) that we're pulling our support from her and we've asked her to kindly remove our logo off of the Website she has up and running."

"The things she said is totally contrary to what we believe in. And she's an individual. I guess that's her opinion. But we have a different view of that. We support Carole James very much. And, as I said a moment ago, we've got five Steelworker candidates that are running on Carole's team."

Neumann said his union – which has not provided financial support to PowerUp Canada – has yet to received a response from Berman.

Sean Holman reports for Public Eye Online.

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