AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka questions future with Democrats
CRAIG D. FRAZIER Special to the AmNews | 11/2/2011, 6:10 p.m.
Recently, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka told reporters that labor groups are planning to scale back their involvement with the Democratic Party in advance of the 2012 elections. Trumka said the labor movement will build up its own political structures and organizations rather than contribute to and depend on the Democratic Party's political operation.
"There are some of our affiliates that aren't going to participate," said Trumka. "We're still talking about it."
The AFL-CIO has traditionally been a major contributor to Democratic candidates and their causes. Trumka said that their outside efforts will hold union-backed candidates more accountable for promises made on the campaign trail.
"The AFL-CIO is responding aggressively with innovative tactics to build a movement for the next generation that speaks to and for all working people around jobs, politics and the workplace," he said at a Labor Day press conference.
"Working people have a powerful voice when they band together," he continued. "Now more than ever, working people need to have their voices heard politically. Only together can we reinvigorate our democracy."
One of the most important issues the union is concerned with is unemployment. "This is the time for boldness," Trumka said. "This is the moment that working people will judge President Obama. Will he propose policies that fundamentally move us away from economic extremism? Will he propose solutions that are on the scale necessary to address the jobs crisis?"
Trumka's comments come on the heels of the AFL-CIO's proposal to set up a super PAC. This PAC would help the labor group direct funds to state battles where legislative efforts aimed at limiting collective bargaining and cutting union benefits are being considered.