Power Shift 2011: AFL-CIO Leader Richard Trumka Demands A Power Shift From The US Chamber

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"Power Shift 2011: AFL-CIO Leader Richard Trumka Demands A Power Shift From The US Chamber"

Last Monday, union leader Richard Trumka joined thousands of youth climate activists to challenge the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s pollution of our nation’s politics. The chamber is the largest lobbying group in the country, promoting a right-wing corporate agenda that denies the threat of global warming pollution and promotes sending American jobs overseas. The activists, coming from the the Power Shift 2011 conference, were joined by the AFL-CIO president in a rally before the chamber’s headquarters on Lafayette Park, facing the White House. Students, like all of America’s workers, are facing the prospect of a terrible job market that rewards speculation and profiteering instead of clean-energy innovation. Trumka thanked the students and young Americans for “moving our national conversation where it has to go” by “fighting on the front lines”:

I don’t have to tell you that too many politicians and their corporate friends in Washington and state capitals across the country don’t care about jobs. They don’t care about the environment. They don’t care about our future. You see, they’re hell bent on pushing a destructive corporate political agenda. And that’s why what you’re doing is so critically important.

“You’re building power,” Trumka concluded to deafening cheers, “and you’re building political will to force our elected officials to consider the quality of the air we breathe, the food that we eat, the jobs that we have, the future we need for ourselves and our children.”

Coming out of Power Shift: the Briefcase Brigades are challenging Congress to help young people find work on April 27, and 350 is mobilizing businesses to tell everyone that “The Chamber Doesn’t Speak For Me.”

Transcript:

TRUMKA: Good morning out there! Anyone want to raise a little hell? My name is Rich Trumka, and I’m president of the AFL-CIO, 12.5 million men and women strong. I wish you were up here with me because this is an incredible sight, because you are what democracy looks like. You are what activism looks like. And you’re fighting on the front lines. And because of what you’re doing, I have tremendous hope for our future. Thank you for everything.

I’m proud to be speaking on behalf of 12.5 million men and women of the AFL-CIO. And I want you to know that we are are ready to be your partner in building a better America today, tomorrow, next week, and for the following decades. Because of your canvass this weekend, your powerful activism, you’re changing the conversation in Washington and across America.

I don’t have to tell you that too many politicians and their corporate friends in Washington and state capitals across the country don’t care about jobs. They don’t care about the environment. They don’t care about our future. You see, they’re hell bent on pushing a destructive corporate political agenda.

And that’s why what you’re doing is so critically important. What you do, the ideas you have, what you talk about, the doors you knock on, the signatures you collect, here and on your college campuses and in your hometowns, all of it is moving our national conversation where it has to go. And the entire country owes you a debt of gratitude. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Because of your action, we’re moving past the manufactured debt hysteria, we’re moving past those same old tired debates towards jobs and a clean green future. No more tax cuts for millionaires. No more funding cuts for health care. No more cuts for education. Let’s keep students in school and not push them unprepared into the worst job market in our history.

You’re shifting America’s focus. You’re building power, and you’re building political will to force our elected officials to consider the quality of the air we breathe, the food that we eat, the jobs that we have, the future we need for ourselves and our children. Keep up the good work! You’re making America better! God bless all of you!

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