AFL-CIO: American Workers Under Attack – What do we do? Stand Up, Fight Back!
By Doug Cunningham
[AFL-CIO Convention Audio]: “The freedoms of working people are under attack. And these attacks are causing real pain for working families.
It’s an all-out assault by corporations, CEO’S and their politicians. And they are taking away our freedoms in every state at every level.
This isn’t happening by chance. It’s a well-funded, coordinated attack.”
America’s labor movement – its largest labor federation is meeting in St. Louis at its quadrennial convention. AFL-CIO President Ruch Trumka set the tone as he accepted election to another term.
[Rich Trumka]: “We build the cars, planes and infrastructure, lift the loads, drive the buses and ship the goods, pour the molds, connect our cities and the world. We teach, heal and make. We package, print and bake. From the East Coast to the West Coast, north, south and everywhere in between.
We make America strong. We don’t duck and run. We don’t run and hide. We are the American labor movement, and we will not – we will NOT be denied!”
Public sector unions are preparing for the latest national assault on union funding – the U.S. Supreme Court Janus v AFSCME case to be decided next Spring. AFSCME President Lee Saunders told the AFL-CIO convention.
[Lee Saunders]: “Through hundreds of thousands of one on one conversations we are fortifying our union to withstand the attack and thrive in any political environment.
Through a bold program called AFSCME Strong we are reconnecting and forging a more powerful bond with our sisters and our brothers.”
United Mine Workers of America President Cecil Roberts cited the power and solidarity the labor movement still has to deliver results for its member and retirees. The miner’s union waged a multi-year battle to save the pensions of coal mine retirees, threatened by corporate maneuvers and bankruptcies. They succeeded in winning money from coal companies and from Congress.
[Cecil Roberts]: “And we went to jail in the rain, and we went to jail in the snow and we went to jail in the sunshine.
And after five years Peabody first said if you’ll go away we’ll give you $310 million for your retiree health care – if you just get out of town. Don’t come back. And then Arch said we can’t give you that kind of money, here’s $12 million. And then Patriot gave us money.
And then we went to work on legislation on Capitol Hill.”