President Obama spoke on Wednesday to the AFL-CIO’s executive council in Washington D.C. While organized labor has expressed frustration at times by the White House’s seeming inability to advance its major labor agenda initiatives, the President highlighted the things his administration has achieved.
According to The Hill:
The president said his administration is enforcing labor provisions in trade agreements and looking to grow the economy by promoting the renewable energy industry.
“At the heart of it is going to be three powerful words: Made in America,” Obama said. “There are no better workers than U.S. workers. There are no better workers than your members.”
Obama vowed to keep fighting for the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), so-called “card-check” legislation that would make union organizing much easier.
“Getting EFCA through the Senate will be tough. It’s always been tough; it’ll continue to be tough. But we’ll keep on pushing,” Obama said.
But Obama also said EFCA is not the only means available for promoting unions. He noted his administration’s work in appointing labor-friendly officials to the National Mediation Board and the National Labor Relations Board, agencies that have oversight of union elections and labor law violations.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said Obama “did a great job” with the speech.
Regarding EFCA in particular, Trumka said he and the White House are working on a way to move forward on EFCA, though he would not disclose any details:
“We are working on a way to pass it, and they are active participants in that,” Trumka said.
Trumka said labor realizes Democrats need their help in the upcoming elections and predicted the threat of Republican gains will spur union members into action.
Progressive online organizer Michael Whitney has a slightly different view over at FireDogLake.
- Full Transcript of President’s Remarks via Federal News Service
- "Obama pledges labor support" — Politico
- "If EFCA Won’t Pass the Senate, We’ll Turn to Federal Labor Boards" — ShopFloor.org