AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka rained fire down on Donald Trump at the breakfast meeting Thursday in Philadelphia. Echoing what others have said about Donald Trump, especially Hillary Clinton and Democrats, the labor leader said Trump isn’t fit to be president, because he would make it harder for working people to make ends meet by doubling down on all policies that brought the nation to where it is today.
Trumka said Ohio is job central to stop Trump from tearing the country apart. A part of that defense, he said, are the 900,000 people who are part of Working America, an AFL-CIO affiliated group. Working people across the land are in the driver’s seat because they are ready to win in November. Union and non-union people are all coming together to resist Trumpism and all his crazy dreams, his bigotry, sexism, and xenophobia. “All he stands for will be rejected in Ohio,” Trumka told Ohio delegates, who later that evening cheer as Hillary Clinton accepted the party’s nomination.
Trumka lit into Ohio’s incumbent Republican Senator Rob Portman. Sen. Portman, he said, has “negotiated one lousy trade agreement after another, and now he wants to masquerade, pretending he’s against it. Does anyone really believe Rob Portman is against what we’re doing, and against trade agreements we’re trying to stop like TPP?”
He talked about the Ohio Supreme Court race by telling the assembled Buckeyes that in Pennsylvania last year, “We were successful…we elected three good people, Democrats, to the supreme court, and two people to the court of appeals…now it’s time to do the same for the Ohio Supreme Court” to get people in who will stand up for working people. Like sweet music to Buckeye ears, Rich Trumka said Ohio needs a worker friendly legislature.
“America has been hungry for the last several years for someone who stands up and talks about raising wages…not just dollars and cents,” he said, but all the policies surrounding it that stop wages from being raised.
He said some say the economy is like the weather, you can’t do anything about it. “The economy is not like the weather, the economy is a set of rules, made by men and women we elect, and those rules for the last 30-40 years have been designed for working people to lose.” Hillary Clinton wants to change the economy, not just manage it as others have done. Change is happening, he said, you go into Ohio, you can sense it. He called Hillary Clinton a warrior for working people, and had glowing remarks for Ohio’s senior senator in Washington, Sherrod Brown, who spoke at the convention later that evening. “He stood for working people, fearlessly, relentless and with out exception, every day of his wife while he’s been in public service,” he said, adding, “I’ve got to tell you, we need to send him a partner in Ted Strickland so we can change things here.”
Turning to the Trans Pacific Partnership, or TPP for short, Trumka took great pride in saying the AFL-CIO lead the fight against it. “They don’t have votes in either the House or Senate. We’re going to make sure that it dies and is sent back and renegotiated.”
When it comes to party platforms, Trumka said the debate between Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton has moved it in the right direction. The result is that it’s the most unifying, strongest and most progressive platform adopted since going back to Franklin Delano Roosevelt. “You did that,” he said to a chorus of cheers.
“I’m going to become a real Buckeye because I’m going to be in this state, in every one of the towns, big towns, small towns, to get our candidates elected. We stand for a voice on the job, to demand better wages and working conditions. We stand for families and fairness, equal pay and reining in Wall Street, and fixing a broken criminal justice and immigration system.”
What Trumka said he admires most about Mrs. Clinton is that she listens. “Unlike Donald Trump who lets his mouth get a couple days in front of his mind, she brings it all together, she shares our vision and values.” What he wanted to tell the Ohio delegation is this: “We’re going to do every thing we can to stand with her between now and the election to get her elected, then we’re going to do everything necessary to change an economy that brings broad prosperity to all Americans, not just the few at the top. This election isn’t about the candidates, it’s about our country, it’s a bigger choice about what kind of country we’re going to be. Are we going to embrace fear and division or are we going to come forward with a unifying vision that brings everyone along?
Wishing and hoping isn’t the answer, he said, but electing working family candidates to get things done, and working together by building teams that are going to go out and get all the votes we can get is.
Unions across the board, as a percentage of workers, is at a low ebb compared to where they were post World War II. Even so, Trumka said the AFL-CIO and its affiliate groups will do more phone calls and mail pieces than ever done, to counter act the “lies and nonsense of Trump and Portman, who support right-to-work.
He laid into Trump again on the New York billionaires comments that fellow billionaire Karl Ichan would be a great secretary of the treasury. He said Ichan is a “guy whose ruined the lives and destroyed more business than anybody else.”
He ended his remarks with a about Donald Trump that was bittersweet. He said Donald Trump is fighting a group of workers at one of his properties in Las Vegas who want to join a union. “First he [Trump] spent hundreds of thousands to stop workers from joining a union. He promised to pay them, they did the job, then he didn’t pay them. He gets a giant law firm to defend him, then he didn’t pay the law firm who defended him from the people he didn’t pay. There is some justice in this world, I guess.”
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