What makes this next story news is not that a union is using front organizations and paid on-line help, it’s that one of them has actually admitted to it. The Ontario Power Workers’ Union has suspended a marketing campaign that paid marketing professionals to post to social media websites their growing “concerns” for solar and wind energy. The campaign also employed bloggers to create websites with eco-syllabic names like “Environauts” to promote “pragmatic” discussions about alternative energy sources. The bloggers and commenters do not identify themselves as being paid by the Power Workers’ Union and there is some suggestion that the union wrote or approved all scripts for the campaign.
“You shouldn’t hide behind front groups to advance an unpopular opinion,” said Greenpeace energy campaigner Keith Stewart. (and he should know) “When Greenpeace comments on things, we do it as Greenpeace and people use that in the way they interpret information.” So, yes, OPWU, it does make a difference when visiting a website called “Environaut” to know the site is paid for by the power workers union.