Richard Trumka Elected AFL-CIO President

Richard Trumka was just elected President of the AFL-CIO.

Why is this important? Because Trumka has been heavily focused on large economic, labor and trade policies which affect not only union members, membership, but also the middle class as a whole.

What I find scary is this concept to build a global union:

From his speech:

A labor movement that understands that, in a global economy, we have no alternative but to build truly global unions.

Unions with the ability to confront corporate power wherever it rears its head.

Whether it’s a call center in Bangalore.

A shoe factory in Vietnam.

Or a coal mine in Colombia.

Brothers and sisters, the corporate agenda doesn’t end at the water’s edge – and neither can ours!

And we need a labor movement that doesn’t only win strong labor laws, but that knows how to take advantage of them once we do.

We’ve been working hard to win the Employee Free Choice Act – and I swear to you that, come hell or high water, we will win.

But that’s not enough: we need to hit the ground running with a strike force of 1,000 professional organizers whose only goal is to see that every worker who wants a union contract gets a union contract!

And I’m not only talking about the private sector.

Right now, 40,000 TSA employees are on the verge of winning their collective bargaining rights.

Our sisters and brothers in AFGE are going to organize them and, John Gage, I want you to know that the AFL-CIO is ready to back you up!

And it doesn’t end there.

Today, there are 7 million Americans working in state and local government who don’t have the legal right to collective bargaining.

They’re teachers and firefighters.

Social workers and sanitation workers.

They truly do make America happen (note: this is AFSCME’s new slogan).

Sisters and brothers, first-rate public employees aren’t second-class citizens – they deserve the right to organize and we’re going to fight to see they get it!

But, you know, the question we face isn’t just where we organize; it’s who.

And I want to talk about that for a moment.

We need to finally come to terms with the fact that union halls that should have been meeting grounds for understanding have often been breeding grounds for bigotry.

And millions of people of color – and millions of women – have paid a staggering price.

We have a moral responsibility to take the benefits of union representation to those who the labor movement turned its back on in the past.

That means organizing poverty-wage African-American, Latino and Asian workers.

It means reaching out to women: women are 50 percent of the workforce … they earn only 77 percent of what men do … and it’s time we made a 100 percent commitment to organizing them!

And it means something else, too: organizing immigrants.

I know there are always going to be some people who are going to buy the line that immigrants are coming over here and stealing everyone’s jobs.

But you know something?

When a company looks at its balance sheets, they don’t distinguish between workers who are born here and those who aren’t.

All they see are numbers.

Well, sisters and brothers, let me ask you a question: if employers are able to look at us and only see workers, shouldn’t we be able to do the same?

It’s time to build a labor movement that leaves no worker behind!

Sounds great but one small problem, by the time they organize all labor all over the world, putting Americans in direct competition with labor from....all over the world, we're going to lose a lot of jobs and wages by that time.

In other words, unless American workers are given preferred status for jobs in their own country, I don't see how this will work and instead we will have even worse global labor arbitrage as a result.

Trumka has been heavily involved in policy, legislation and also has mentioned extensive interests in Professional and white collar labor. He has specifically mentioned the use of contracts, temp labor as a method of wage arbitrage.

Trumka is also focused on offshore outsourcing, especially with the U.S. manufacturing center.

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