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AFL-CIO President, Richard Trumka

“We will rebuild and take back America,” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka told the members of the MTD executive board at its winter meeting in Orlando on March 9.

In an impassioned address, he said that the by standing united, the working people of this country will take back the American Dream by making sure that we invest in infrastructure and jobs, maintain our collective bargaining rights, preserve health care reform and retirement security, go up against the “Big Moneyed Interests” that have benefited from Citizens United, and advance green technology and cleaner modes of transportation.

Trumka added we will not let anti-worker special interest groups chip away at the integrity of our democracy by enacting voter identification laws that discriminate against women, the elderly, students, minorities and the working poor.  Nor will labor allow its friends to take the movement for granted.  Labor will demand accountability.

After recalling the fights in Wisconsin and Ohio, he stated, trade union activists will be working 24/7 to make sure that attacks against working people don’t succeed.

As Trumka noted, “The AFL-CIO is launching a political program that reaches out to all working people.”  The new program will be able to transition from electoral politics to advocacy and from advocacy to accountability.

“We will build the America we can and must have.”

Trumka recalled his education in unionism started like that of MTD President Michael Sacco: “as a child right there at the kitchen table.” No one had to teach either of them what solidarity meant.

“The Maritime Trades are a powerful voice for working people, a mighty voice,” Trumka declared. “But as mighty as you are, and as mighty as our labor movement is, we cannot take on this battle alone.

“When we stand together with those organizations and individuals who share our values, the numbers are on our side.

“United, we cannot be turned aside.”