Trumka Calls on Pa. Unions to Support Obama

AFL-CIO Pres. Rich Trumka addresses PA AFL-CIO Convention

Trumka calls on Pa. unions to support Obama

March 27, 2012|Jane M. Von Bergen INQUIRER STAFF WRITER

While acknowledging the “ups and downs we’ve had over the past three years,” the national head of the U.S. labor movement called on Pennsylvania union members Tuesday to mobilize to keep President Obama in office.

“President Obama stands on our side,” AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka told hundreds of AFL-CIO union delegates gathered at the Sheraton Philadelphia Downtown in Philadelphia at the start of the Pennsylvania Federation of the AFL-CIO’s three-day convention.

Much of the convention will consist of union administrative business, heavily underscored with politics. But on Thursday, the AFL-CIO will also unveil a new effort to connect start-up companies with union workers before sending delegates to attend a noon rally in support of a drive to unionize 3,000 security guards working in Philadelphia’s office towers and major institutions including the University of Pennsylvania.

Trumka, who worked as a coal miner in Western Pennsylvania and earned his law degree at Villanova University, expressed disappointment that Obama’s pledge to work for a law that would make it easier for unions to organize never came to fruition. But he mentioned it almost in passing, while crediting Obama with creating or saving 3.6 million jobs during the recession. He also praised the president for expanding access to health care and tightening up the banking industry.

Union members, he said, need to push back against politicians who are “less interested in doing the right thing than they are in doing the far-right thing” and against right-wing donors who are making a “blatant bid to buy our democracy. It’s pretty ugly, and it’s very corrupt.”

Trumka urged the convention’s attendees, who represent the leaders of unions around the state, to register at least 20 percent of their unregistered members and to commit to a full-court two-week intensive push prior to the November election.

Pennsylvania “is a must-win state for President Obama on his path to the White House,” said Christopher Borick, director of Muhlenberg College’s Institute of Public Opinion in Allentown. The Republicans can lose Pennsylvania, he said, and still win the White House, but the Democrats need Pennsylvania, and unions are key to that party’s success.

“They provide the structure and the personnel” for get-out-the-vote efforts, he said.

2 thoughts on “Trumka Calls on Pa. Unions to Support Obama”

  1. The labor force when properly motivated is something to be respected . They get the job done and done well! Today all workers have the same interest and need to work for those ends. Wages have been flat for 30 years for workers, while top management and CEO’s have enjoyed a 400% increase in income. Workers have been made to do the work of those laidoff plus themselves and the benefits have been lost or greatly reduce resulting in a lower standard of living. Obama and the Democratic party failed to pay back organized labor for the volume of effort and work that was put into the 2008 election. By not putting through the Employee Free Choice Act, they diminished the support for future elections because of lower numbers. This just might be their folley. The alternative would be one of the GOP debaters. I did NOT find one who could represent mainstream America. I still don’t understand the GOP platform to where attacking women would win any election. The Chamber of Comm. supports building a wall between the USA and Mexico, yet is silent on twelve million illegal workers in this country.Their businesses hire the cheap labor with impunity and protection from the law. This creates massive unemployment and social and domestic problems.

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