Trumka explains why workers must back Obama


ORLANDO, Fla. - A big stocky guy with a neat salt and pepper mustache and thick matching hair, looking very much like the coal miner he was in his early years, made his way into a packed press room during the AFL-CIO Executive Council meeting wrhere reporters from all over the country were waiting.

The man was Richard Trumka, former coal miner and now president of the AFL-CIO and chief representative of its 12 million firefighters, teachers, nurses, miners, electricians, entertainers and others. He explained to the nation's press why the leaders of almost every union in America had just decided to endorse the re-election bid of President Obama.

"As president, Barack Obama has placed his faith in America's working men and women to lead our country to economic recovery and to our full potential as a nation," Trumka said. "With our endorsement today, we affirm our faith in him - and pledge to work with him through the election and in his second term to restore fairness, security and shared prosperity."

The decision by the AFL-CIO's 57 unions was a unanimous one and, according to Trumka, President Obama spoke directly to federation leaders after the endorsement, expressing appreciation and agreeing to make the fight for jobs the top priority.

A Wall Street journal reporter wanted to know why the endorsement was so strong an endorsement, considering that labor has not always been satisfied with the pace of change during the president's first term.

"President Obama has made a complete pivot since a year ago when he was caught up in the deficit debate," Trumka said. "Since last Labor Day he has been talking about jobs, wealth inequality and the centrality of rebuilding manufacturing. We may have had disagreements but we never doubted that President Obama is a friend of the working men and women of America."

The choice was even more obviously the only choice that could be made, said Trumka, when the Republican opposition to Obama is considered.

"Just look at Romney," Trumka said. "He said he made $640,000 speaking but said that it wasn't a lot of money. How out of touch could he be?"

Trumka outlined what he said was a second major reason for the Obama endorsement:

"When Bush was president he was the first president who left office with less jobs in America than when he took office. The things these Republicans want to do today are exactly the things Bush did then. What sense does that make?"

"The coming election is about values," Trumka said. "President Obama honors the values of hard work, of mutual respect, and of solving problems together - not every person for himself or herself. He believes that together we will get through the most challenging economic crisis in memory and restore opportunity for all.

"Each of the Republican presidential candidates, on the other hand, has pledged to uphold the privileges that have produced historic economic inequality and drowned out the voices of working people in America."

Trumka described the labor movement as "the original social network - a working class social network - and this year the unions of the AFL-CIO will be mobilizing working people to come together to organize our neighborhoods door to door, powered by cutting edge technology and old-fashioned energy. We will be running an independent program rooted not in parties or candidates but in helping working people build power, making informed decisions about which candidates at every level to work for based on records and issues."

Photo: President Barack Obama delivers remarks on energy, March, 15, in Largo, Md. Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP


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  • As important as president Obama's re-election is and the more important working class action urged by president Trumka to make it happen, there is a maelstrom whirlpool and circumcision of even these signal events: the massive needs of the working class in the niggardly depravity of advanced capitalism and imperialism.
    Organizing this tremendous need in the context of these specific facts gives them the force that is needed to complete them.
    The organizational activities of the Congressional Black Caucus in Congress, the initiatives of the National Action Network, the NAACP, La Raza, the Urban League, the AFL-CIO's initiatives, The Occupy, the CPUSA, the ACLU, the National Lawyers Guild, the Progressive Caucus in Congress, NOW, Planned Parenthood, the CBTU, UFPJ, the various voting, civil rights and constitutional rights organizations, and many, many others, in both their national and international connections, put meat on this great need.
    The intrinsically international occupy movement crowns these, the breadth of the movement sweeping the globe, the fate of the international working class and all mother earth's inhabitants with their very health and life in the balance.
    Through this great maelstrom, the local, regional, national, and international fuse.
    It is essential for the communists to remember that if the specific, concrete and direct action of the working people does not throttle this movement, it means little or nothing, and conversely, for this connection to be sustained means everything. This is especially true when it comes to the poorest of the poor working class peoples, immigrants, African Americans, Latinos, women and native peoples, independent of sex.
    The communists, to a person, almost have to be involved in voters rights activities for the next seven months, with all the interconnections with these groups and more, certainly the youth and the elderly have to be included, because the dastardly plans of GOP reactionaries include the exclusion of millions from these groups, from the democratic process in these United States of America.
    In this way workers "back" Obama with really having his back, so Si, Se Puede-yes, we can re-elect president Obama, this 6 November 2012.

    Posted by E.E.W. Clay, 03/20/2012 1:00pm (4 years ago)

  • Great article. But gasoline is more expensive now that Obama is President than when Bush was President. Go figure? What sense does that make?

    Posted by kloe, 03/17/2012 12:43am (4 years ago)

  • We need to do all we can to move the agenda left. I know President Obama is in reality a centrist, but I believe to function in DC a politician is almost forced into a centrist position. At least he is saying what needs to be said, that is one step closer to getting something done. The Republican candidates however are up to their usual pandering with their siren song of lower taxes and family values. Who are they kidding? The Republicans have had thirty years to do something and have failed miserably. Trumka's leadership is vital in bringing class struggles to light. We all know the deal but not to many public figures want to walk the plank by pointing out the emperor has no clothes. He's got guts.
    President Obama has intellect, he's articulate and I believe he truly cares. None of the Republican candidates come close and I can't imagine how any working American could identify with them. I am certain with teamwork we can get a second term and start rebuilding what remains of this nation.

    Posted by Mike Greer, 03/16/2012 9:55pm (4 years ago)

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