AFL-CIO Pres. Rich Trumka Challenges G-20 Leaders to Respect Workers and Environment

by Seth Michaels, Sep 24, 2009

Last night in Pittsburgh, at an event featuring former Vice President Al Gore and a broad coalition of environmental and union leaders, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka challenged the global heads of state attending the G-20 conference to build a new economic order that protects the dignity of workers and the planet.

The world cannot afford to continue with a globalization that works only for the very richest and leaves workers and the communities they live in behind, Trumka said. While the G-20 leaders meet, unions are issuing a declaration that calls for global action for good jobs:

Together, the labor movement and the environmental movement are a fighting force for change. This is our time—time to let the powers gathered here this week know exactly what we want, and exactly what we won’t stand for. We want a clean energy economy that creates good jobs, and we want a safe and healthy planet.

We need a new economic order that demands respect for both workers and the planet…globalization that benefits only the rich, the assault on workers and the planet and the devastation it breeds, has got to go.

Trumka noted that Pittsburgh wasn’t revitalized by the type of globalization that exports jobs—Pittsburgh’s growth came despite, not because of, the big banks and global corporations. In the real economy, Trumka said, it takes workers with good, safe jobs to build a lasting prosperity. We can’t go back to business, to the unfair economic system that caused our financial crisis, he said.

Trumka laid out a program of regulation of the finance industry, major public investment in clean energy and transportation, controls on carbon emissions and the freedom for all workers to form a union.

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