AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka delivered the following remarks at a labor movement convening on sexual harassment.
Rich Trumka was elected President of the AFL-CIO in 2009. His election, following 15 years of service as the AFL-CIO’s Secretary Treasurer, capped Trumka’s rise to leadership of the nation’s largest labor federation from humble beginnings in the small coal mining communities of southwest Pennsylvania. Learn more about President Trumka.
The agreement passed by Congress last night is a breakthrough in beginning to restore tax fairness and achieves some key goals of working families. It does not cut Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid benefits. It raises more than $700 billion over 10 years, including interest savings, by ending the Bush income tax cuts for families making more than $450,000 a year. And in recognition of the continuing jobs crisis, it extends unemployment benefits for a year. A strong message from voters and a relentless echo from grassroots activists over the last six weeks helped get us this far.
But lawmakers should have listened even better. The deal extends the Bush tax cuts for families earning between $250,000 and $450,000 a year and makes permanent Bush estate tax cuts exempting estates valued up to $5 million from any tax. These concessions amount to over $200 billion in additional tax cuts for the 2%.
by AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka
It’s a perilous time—but one that is also ripe with opportunity. Right now, the American people, who repeatedly have voiced their desire for change, are hungry for leadership.
Someone has to turn this economy around—fast, before working families lose more jobs, more homes, more opportunity for a decent future for their children. And it’s not going to be the political lap dogs for Wall Street and the rich—they’re not going to fix this economy. It’s not going to be the conservative ideologues or the haters.
This job falls to us—a united American labor movement. We have so much to do in the coming months and years. And it’s a core of our history, of all we stand for, that the way we win is by winning together.