AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka put Democrats on notice Wednesday, saying they can’t maintain union support with simple “campaign rhetoric.”
Trumka was speaking to a private meeting that included representatives from each of the Democrats seeking the 2020 presidential nomination, according to a Huffington Post report published Thursday. He told the crowd that both Democrats and Republicans are beholden to big business and ignore workers’ rights.
“It’s time to do better,” Trumka said. “I believe you can. I believe you will. And working people are hungry for it. But you can’t offer campaign rhetoric or count on workers’ votes simply because you have a ‘D’ next to your name.” (RELATED: Trumka: White House Staff Made Up Of Racists And People Only Looking Out For Wall Street)
Although Trumka said it was easy to blame the Republican Party for policies that unions don’t agree with, it was time to “be honest” about the labor record of the Democratic Party.
“More often than not, the Republican Party is bad for workers. This president is bad for workers. But let’s be honest about the Democratic Party’s record,” Trumka said.
“We are caught in a web of century-old labor laws that prioritize unchecked corporate greed over all else,” Trumka said, according to the Post. “We can blame this White House all we want. But this isn’t new.” (RELATED: Union Members Have Traditionally Supported Democrats But This Poll Shows A Dramatic Shift)
The union may also be concerned that the party is shifting away from traditional Democratic policies, and moving even further left on the political spectrum.
In March, the AFL-CIO rebuked the Green New Deal, saying it would cause “immediate harm” to average Americans.
“We will not accept proposals that could cause immediate harm to millions of our members and their families,” the union wrote in a letter. “We will not stand by and allow threats to our members’ jobs and their families’ standard of living go unanswered.”
A report released Tuesday suggested the environmental policy that aims to ban fossil fuel use within a decade would drain $70,000 from Americans households part of five key electoral states in one year.
“You need to prove that this party is the one and only party for working people and recognize that unions and collective bargaining are the single best way to make this economy work for everyone” Trumka said, according to the Post. “Convince our members, and you’ll have the country’s largest and most effective movement for working people on your side.”
President Donald Trump has promised to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement and called the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement “terrible.” Trumka called both bad for workers and the middle class.
The AFL-CIO has not yet endorsed any candidate for the 2020 presidential election.