AFL-CIO President Lays It On The Line

(11 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

The president of the AFL-CIO, Richard Trumka, gave an hour long speech before the National Press Club that sent a message the Democratic Party that if candidates for office want union members votes and money, they had better start standing up for labor and mean it:

“It doesn’t matter if candidates and parties are controlling the wrecking ball or simply standing aside to let it happen,” Trumka said. “The outcome is the same either way. If leaders aren’t blocking the wrecking ball and advancing working families’ interests, then working people will not support them.”

The AFL-CIO’s executive council is considering a plan that could spend less on congressional races and more on fighting state battles like those in Wisconsin and Ohio, where lawmakers want to weaken collective bargaining rights and reduce union clout.

But Trumka made clear the federation had no plan to follow the lead of the nation’s largest firefighters union, which announced last month that it would halt all political donations to members of Congress because they are not fighting hard enough for union rights. The move has won praise in many corners of the labor movement, where union activists have openly grumbled about House and Senate Democrats being too quiet while unions are getting pummeled in dozens of states.

“We’ve spent money where we have friends and we will continue to do that,” he said.

Leon Fink, a labor historian at the University of Illinois at Chicago, said unions are tired of being taken for granted and discouraged that their influence with moderate and conservative Democrats has been limited.

“Spending a lot of money electing conservative Democrats in marginal districts had no legislative payoff for unions,” Fink said. “They don’t seem to have the capacity to impose their will on the party.”

Damon Silvers of the AFL-CIO joined Cenk Uygur to discuss the issue

Mr. Trumka did not mention President Obama but was incensed about the tax deal the White House cut with Senate Republicans last year and curtly reminded the Democrats that aren’t assured of union support: “Remember Blanch Lincoln”. Ouch


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    • TMC on May 22, 2011 at 06:13
  1. (far right) unions, since the AFL annexed the further left CIO.  They’ve been a  bad influence wrg money in politics as well. When you’ve lost the AFL, you’ve gone very far right indeed.  If Trumka had said ‘we will support third parties’ or something like that, this could be a very positive thing. Instead he said, ‘we will consider supporting some republicans’ which I take to mean ‘we know we should do something, but don’t know what’

    I don’t expect the AFL-CIO to be anything more than a dwindling old boys club, as they  always have  been.  But I do think that there is much to hope for in a rejuvenated labor movement — maybe old names like the IWW, or something new.

    There’s a lot more hope for a new labor movement to be a positive force than for the libertarians (who only want liberty for the elite) , btw.

    But as far as these big dino unions go-they’re responsible for their own demise. They were exclusionary clubs, & refused to organize non core workers in a changing world. They used their money to help the Democrats who scratched their backs– but no one else benefited. Service workers, or secretaries for instance were far below them. Computer workers. And on and on.  They refused to go global, when business did -despite the fact the Euro unions helped them get started way way back in the day, it never occurred to them that they needed to go south and east too; they just kept shrinking, & sending their cash to the Democrats for crumbs, until now, when the Democrats are so owned by bigger players, that they find they no longer matter.  

    They just now found out (like Nader finally did in 2000 after sending tons of PIRG cash to the Dems for around 3 decades, with nothing to show for it) there will always be a bigger player–if all that counts is how much money you can pay our side always loses.  

  2. To be in a union, the wife and I inclusive are subject to and “owned by” ever increasing fascist policies related to dying empires and oligarcies gone wild which are governmentally enforced by simply saying

    This is an employee “at will” state.

    So my wife can’t sue “the center” (her employer) in a real “United States” court.

    She “must comply” with policies she has no hardcopy of, oh, it’s on the company “intranet” she does not have a password for.

    She can be searched, pocketbook, vehicle, person merely upon allegation and most recently due to a Salem Witch trials re-enactment the possetion of that modern technology the cell phone is cause for immediate termination of employment.


    Possetion of a cell phone is grounds for IMMEDIATE TERMINATION of employment.

    Now, don’t you wish Rapture Day did happen?

    True story, no shit.

    Now as to those millions of other lesser employed like me, working well below their skill levels and contributing far less to the collective good than they otherwise could as evidenced by the rise of the “temp employment agencies”.  A ready answer to not paying union established benefits and or the normal working conditions established in the US during “our” long past industrial age.

    Employee safety measures have even become a sort of corporate way to protect their investment of what they “own”/ trained employees.

    As I enter the office of the default “safety compliance” “officer” there are “educational” posters about urgent seasonal issues like Lime tick disease ready to be “rolled out” at “critical” urgent safety meetings so that corporate can avoid having to endure the vast expense to training yet another monkey to properly watch paint fucking dry.  I mean it is virtually verboten in this shithole to even dare ask for two weeks off in a row unless you have a doctor certified medical emergency.  You might get a whole week off if you happen to be a 30 year veteran who knows all of the corporat dirty laundry.

    Again, true story, dying American company you would know the name of, history of and you would go “oh shit” and wonder why the military-industrial complex has no clothes.  But that is yet another book nobody would read.

  3. appointing Trumka to his jobs commission, and making a case for his not taking it; throwing rocks from the outside being one of the themes.  Ms. Hamsher came onto the blog and smacked me around for it.


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