Unions react to Obama's re-election
STEPHON JOHNSON Amsterdam News Staff | 11/9/2012, 1:34 p.m.
Tuesday night's re-election victory for President Barack Obama is considered to be a mandate on the progressive agenda for some. Unions were very quick to heap praise on the American people for Obama's re-election.
32BJ President Hector Figueroa said in a statement that while unions should be relieved that Obama won, their work isn't done. He said union members and advocates for the middle and working class need to give Obama support on issues like tax reform, government investments in job creation and comprehensive immigration reform.
"The president should not have to fight these battles alone. And if he starts to head down a wrong path, we need to stand up and let him know," said Figueroa. "America's working families must be both vocal and visible to help President Obama bring a broadly shared prosperity back to our country."
National Nurses United President Rose Ann DeMoro's comments were of a similar nature.
"The power of working people overcame the efforts to overwhelm our political process with massive spending by the 1 percent and to prevent people from voting through disgraceful voter suppression efforts," said DeMoro. "The votes of women are a direct repudiation of attacks on women's health and rights. The alliance of workers and communities of color in this election is an affirmation of the future for our diverse nation."
Working people and unions played an essential role in re-electing President Obama, bringing populist candidates like Elizabeth Warren and Tammy Baldwin to the U.S. Senate and defeating a major attack on unions in California, Proposition 32, DeMoro said.
American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten believes that an Obama victory signals that Americans believe in the power of government to help those who need it, but not necessarily handouts.
"Americans voted for a vision for our nation that says government has an essential role that includes protecting our families in times of crisis, investing in public schools as a foundation of our democracy, guaranteeing access to affordable health care and ensuring retirement with dignity after a lifetime of hard work," said Weingarten. "Election night was also a victory for people power over money power. I witnessed the hard work of our union's volunteers firsthand as I moved through Ohio, Florida and other states on the AFT's 'Your Vote--Your Right--Their Futures' bus tour.
"Thousands upon thousands of our members made phone calls, knocked on doors and reached out in every way they could to get their families, friends and neighbors to the polls on Election Day--an effort that contributed not only to President Obama's re-election, but also to victories in key Senate, House and gubernatorial races across the country," Weingarten continued.