Monday, January 11, 2010

 

AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka on labor and Wall Street vs. the rest of us


by Larry Geller

Below is a snippet from AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka’s address to the National Press Club today. There is lots more in this transcript from truthout.org that is worth reading, especially his comments on the future of the labor movement. Check out the complete article (link at the end).

Trumka is describing his trip to the West Coast.

Everywhere I went, people asked me, why do so many of the people we elect seem to care only about Wall Street? Why is helping banks a matter of urgency, but unemployment is something we just have to live with? Why don't we make anything in America anymore? And why is it so hard to pass a health care bill that guarantees Americans healthy lives instead of guaranteeing insurance companies healthy profits?

As I travelled from city to city, I heard a new sense of resignation from middle class Americans, people laid off for the first time in their lives asking, "What did I do wrong?"

I came away shaken by the sense that the very things that make America great are in danger.

At this moment, the voices of America's working women and men must be heard in Washington--not the voices of bankers and speculators for whom it always seems to be the best of times, but the voices of those for whom the New Year brings pink slips and givebacks, hollowed-out health care, foreclosures and pension freezes- the roll call of an economy that long ago stopped working for most of us. [truthout.org, AFL-CIO President: Lawmakers Lack "Political Courage" to Tackle Unemployment (1/11/2010)]





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