‘A Massive, Militant Movement’
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka addresses the Take Back the American Dream conference October 4.
AFL-CIO President Richard L. Trumka called for a “mighty movement for jobs and a just economy” today at the Take Back The American Dream conference in Washington, D.C. In a speech titled, “America Wants to Work,” Mr. Trumka described the unequal state of affairs in the country today:
Think about it: Bank of America, which makes about $1 billion a month, announces it’s going to charge customers $5 a month to use their own money to shop with their debit cards. Mind you this is the financial giant that paid its global banking and markets president nearly $30 million dollars last year—and this year turned around and announced it’s going to fire 30,000 workers!
Trumka told the audience that the right wing is “banking on an upside-down America for its path to political power.” He described the right’s four-part plan:
- First, they’ll do everything they can to keep our economy on the rocks—no money for jobs, no way – keep people hurting and angry.
- Second, they’ll fan the flames of anti-government angst by making sure our government looks dysfunctional – gridlocked and lurching from funding deadline to deadline.
- Third, they’re ginning up this season’s version of “divide and conquer” – set taxpayers against public employees, jobless Americans against immigrants.
- And finally, they’re doing their damnedest to make sure the electorate in 2012 looks nothing like the electorate of 2008 — disenfranchising new voters with voter ID laws, suppressing student voters, and a whole lot more.
Trumka said that now is the time for “a mighty movement for jobs and a just economy,” adding, “We won’t stop fighting, shoving and kicking until everyone is back at work.”
What To Do
First, he said, we need to support President Obama’s American Jobs Act.
Second, we should support the president’s call for millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share of taxes.
Trumka said it is time to turn up the heat with a massive, militant movement for jobs. “This fight cannot be part-time work for us. This isn’t something we ‘also’ do. This is it! And to win, we have to come together. “
He said we need to hold congress’ feet to the fire and invited people to visit the AFL-CIO website at aflcio.org, to see a map that lets people send a message to Congress about the crumbling bridges and the unemployment rate in each state that people can hare that with e-mail lists and website visitors.
The Real Job-Creators
Trumka said that the real job creators in America are regular working people. “When we do well, we create demand. And companies hire more workers to keep pace! That’s how it works. I call it trickle-up economics. Sisters and brothers, nothing less than the character and future of America is at stake. And as my friend Van Jones likes to say, we stand for one nation under God, with liberty, and justice, for all. “
“When we call for investments in jobs, they’ll say America’s broke. No, it isn’t—but our politics are broken! We’ve got politicians whose priorities are broken!”
“When we call for fair taxes on those who’ve fed on America’s economic collapse, they’ll cry, “Class warfare! … But it wasn’t us who declared war on people who work for a living. … And if they want to have that class warfare debate, I say: “Bring it on!”
“Sisters and brothers, nothing less than the character and future of America is at stake. And as my friend Van Jones likes to say, we stand for one nation under God, with liberty, and justice, for all. “
The crowd erupted in cheers.