Big Labor for generations reflexively supported the Democratic Party with financial support and people power. In the 20th Century, this symbiosis worked well. It gave their party almost lockdown control of the House of Representatives and almost the same stranglehold on the Senate.
Democrats owned Congress for much of the time between the Great Depression and the 1990s because they supported labor. They portrayed Big Business as opposing the interests of the working man. Working men and their supporters lined up to vote for the commoner's party. Republicans, they reasoned, didn't get the worker.
Workers did not leave the Democratic Party, but the Democrats at the national level left them. Obama's allegiance to billionaire Big Green businessmen continues to stall a Keystone pipeline that will directly benefit the pipefitters' union among many others. Before that came the war on coal. Blue collar voters who once temporarily ditched the Democrats for Reagan, but did not change affiliation, now see the GOP as a permanent home. Stephen Moore, economic analyst from Heritage Foundation notes that Republicans stand to gain in many currently blue or purple states just as they have in West Virginia.
Moore also says that only two groups oppose Keystone, Democrats who make over $100,000 per year and Democrats with postgraduate degrees.
Certain unions benefit from the new regime. Service workers and auto workers have reaped huge state based rewards. Mining and other manufacturing sectors have seen government policy try to drive them from the economic map.
It is high time that the GOP leadership and union bosses like Cecil Roberts have a quiet chat about mutual interests. They don't have to like each other, but Obama and Green Democrats are the common foe.