Secretary-Treasurer Rich Trumka Addresses Local AFL-CIO

0 Flares 0 Flares ×

On October 15, Rich Trumka, the Secretary-Treasurer of the AFL-CIO spoke to, and
answered questions from local AFL-CIO delegates to the Champaign County AFL-CIO.
Also present were apprentices from two of the local craft unions.
The AFL-CIO had been working very hard to turn out its members in November to
vote for the Obama-Biden ticket. Trumka, himself, had stumped in a number of states
with significant labor union members. His main message was always the same: racism is
the greatest evil that plagues the United States; too many white workers harbor racist sentiments;
and, they better get over it on election day because another Republican administration
would be a disaster for working people.
While Trumka gave a strong pitch for Obama, he also said that if Obama were elected,
the AFL-CIO would pay close attention to see to it that the Obama administration
did not behave the way that the Clinton one did by adopting neo-liberal, free-trade
policies that hurt labor both in the United States and abroad. The AFL-CIO is very
concerned about some of the people who have been advising Obama, like former Clinton
Secretary of the Treasury Robert Rubin. Other free-trading figures from the Clinton
administration, like Lawrence Summers and Laura Tyson, are also of concern to
the AFL-CIO. The organization has drawn up a list of people for several key cabinet
and subcabinet positions who would be more favorable to working people and for
whom the AFL-CIO would advocate.
The AFL-CIO worked very hard for the Obama election and poured hundreds of millions
of dollars into the campaign. According to AFL-CIO President John Sweeney, in the
last four days of the campaign 250,000 union volunteers made 5.5 million phone calls and
visited 3.9 million union households. Labor leaders have claimed that union outreach was
crucial in Florida, Indiana, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin where 67% of AFLCIO
unions’ members who voted, did sos for Obama and only 30% for McCain, according
to Peter D. Hart Research Associates.
Aside from wanting a say in the appointments to the Treasury Department, the unions
are pushing for a stimulus program to create jobs, extension of unemployment benefits,
increased financing for food stamps, a rescue program for automakers, and, very importantly,
passage of The Employee Free Choice Act that would force employers to recognize a
union if a majority of workers signed a card supporting one. This would eliminate the need
for open voting in which some employers intimidate and even fire workers who advocate
for the creation of a union. This is strongly opposed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and
will require determination on the part of Democrats in the Congress, and pressure on some
Republicans in the Senate where the Democrats will not have a veto-proof majority.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.