Trumka: Workers Will Come Together To Vote in 2008
Employers historically have tried to set workers against each other by playing the race card. But when union members stand together as one, no one can defeat them, says AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Richard Trumka.
Speaking to the Virginia AFL-CIO this past weekend, Trumka said (see video):
We’ve seen how companies set worker against worker—how they throw whites a few extra crumbs off the table and how it’s black and Latino workers who get the dirtiest, most-dangerous jobs. But we’ve seen something else, too. We’ve seen that when we cross that color line and stand together, no one—and I mean no one—can keep us down.That’s why, imperfect as we are, the labor movement today is the most integrated institution in American life.
When union members encounter people who say they can’t vote for Barack Obama because he’s black, workers can’t stay silent and sit on the sidelines, Trumka said, because too much is at stake.
When you hear someone say America isn’t ready for a black president, you have to get in their face and say: “You may not be ready for Barack Obama, but I sure as hell am!”
The fact is that Obama is the only presidential candidate who supports working people, and that is the message we have to spread, Trumka added.
Between now and Election Day, we need to make it personal. We need to make it our business to educate those folks. We need to tell them that if they care about holding on to their jobs, their health care, their pensions, and their homes; if they care about child care, pay equity for women workers; if they want to leave their children a better, fairer, more decent America than the one that was given to us; there’s only going to be one candidate on the ballot this fall who’s earned their votes. And his name is Barack Obama!
The election is critical, Trumka said, because eight years of the Bush/Cheney administration has left working Americans “barely hanging on by their fingernails [while] corporate America has never done better.”
You see men and women who’ve spent their entire working lives doing exactly what they were supposed to—working hard, bringing home a paycheck, trying to put a little aside for their kids, paying their mortgage [and] hoping that, maybe someday, they could retire.
But what do they do when the company tanks? Or when it packs up and moves to China? What do they do when they lose their health care, but they’re too young for Medicare? What do they do when the pensions they were counting on are worth pennies on the dollar?
In the end, Trumka says, working people can, and will, come together in this election, just as they have done over the centuries.
Tags: Trumka , Unions , Racism , Unity
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.