AFL-CIO union boss Richard Trumka issued a threat to Democrats nationwide at the National Press Club on Friday, calling on them to support his and other unions or face losing their support.
“We will spend the summer holding elected leaders in Congress as well as the states accountable on one measure: Are they improving or degrading life for working families? We are looking hard at how we work in the nation’s political arena,” Trumka said, according to prepared remarks. “We have listened hard, and what workers want is an independent labor movement that builds the power of working people – in the workplace and in political life.”
Trumka went even further than just saying he’ll hold elected leaders accountable. He said Democrats may be “controlling the wrecking ball” that’s crippling unions, too, and that he plans to stand up to either party.
“It doesn’t matter if candidates and parties are controlling the wrecking ball or simply standing aside – the outcome is the same either way,” Trumka said. “If leaders aren’t blocking the wrecking ball and advancing working families’ interests, working people will not support them. This is where our focus will be – now, in 2012 and beyond.”
Trumka’s remarks come on the heels of what conservatives are calling a power grab by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), which is attacking The Boeing Company for building a plant in South Carolina after disagreements with unions in Washington State. Fred Wszolek of the Workforce Fairness Institute (WFI) calls Trumka’s speech “nothing more than a plea for more bailouts from bureaucrats in government on the backs of American job creators.”
“Big Labor expended nearly half a billion dollars electing President Obama and they expect ‘payback,’ plain and simple,” Wszolek said in a statement. “With the rejection of the Employee ‘Forced’ Choice Act, ‘payback’ comes in the form of radical actions by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and National Mediation Board (NMB). And while union bosses are trying to put Capitol Hill on notice, elected officials should already know that our nation’s employers will not stand by politicians who side with regulators pursuing job-killing policies.”