AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said Friday that workers want an “independent” labor movement designed to help the working class, not a specific party or candidate…
“Our role is not to build the power of a political party or a candidate. It’s to improve the lives of working families and strengthen our economy, our country…”
In a question-and-answer session after his speech, the labor leader elaborated on how unions plan to change their political operations for the 2012 election cycle.
“We are actually redoing our entire political program and the way we do things,” Trumka said. “We will change the way we spend … the way we function in a way that creates power for workers.”
The AFL-CIO, which spends most of its funds on member education and get-out-the-vote efforts, wants to better coordinate with their affiliated unions that tend to make direct campaign contributions to candidates. In addition, the labor federation wants to mobilize its members year-round to campaign on issues dear to labor, instead of dismantling its political program after every election, which makes it harder to motivate workers when the next election comes around in two years, Trumka said.
Asked if labor will campaign against Democrats, Trumka responded, “Ask Blanche Lincoln.”