Union Head Richard Trumka Sees AFL-CIO as Socialist Vehicle
MARY MCHUGH | New American
10 JANUARY 2011
In an Internet video piece dated September 27, 2010 which recently made the rounds of conservative media, AFL-CIO boss Richard Trumka explains his union’s intention to be a tool for social change and to bring about a “progressive America.”
Though his manner of expression is reminiscent of Boston Mayor Thomas Menino’s indefinite grammar, the stark meaning behind Trumka’s words in these sound bites remains unmistakable:
… we’re the last line of defense out there. I mean, I got into the labor movement — not because I wanted to negotiate wages. I got into the labor movement because I saw it as a vehicle to do massive social change to include the “lots” of people. [Emphasis added.] That’s why I got into the labor movement.
I’ve been trying to build permanent coalitions. We’ve been asking our state feds and our central labor councils to reach out and start building permanent coalitions with young workers groups, with student groups, with religious groups, anybody that’s a progressive group to bring them in and actually make them part of the structure. So that we have representatives on our executive boards now that come from community groups so that that voice is always there and we’re actually helping back and forth.
A female commentator then addresses him:
You know the idea of labor as part of that progressive coalition so it’s rooted in the broader community … is labor part (of), for example — and we don’t have a sense of how it’s going to turn out — but there’s a lot of energy around it: The “march” on October 2?
Oh yeah — we’re right at the beginning of that. We were part of the planters, we were doing all that. And that’s actually a two-fold strategy. It’s trying to bring progressive groups together to give America a vision of what a progressive America would be like — talking about a job creation of the middle class, rebuilding the middle class. We’ve got progressive groups all over. We’re lock, stock and barrel in the middle of that. [Emphasis added.].