LaborTalk for January 29, 2011

Trumka and Chief Anti-Union Activist
In Joint Statement on Infrastructure

By Harry Kelber

Thomas Donohue, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, who has consistently opposed pro-worker legislation, issued a joint statement on Jan. 26 with AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka in praise of President Obama’s proposal in his State of the Union address that called for federal investment in the nation’s infrastructure. Here is the text of the joint statement, released in full by the AFL-CIO:

“U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas R. Donahue and AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka issued the following joint statement on President Obama’s State of the Union Address:

“America’s working families and business community stand united in applauding President Obama’s call to create jobs and grow our economy through investment in our nstion’s infrastructure.

“Whether it is building roads, bridges, high-speed broadband , energy systems and schools, , these projects not only create jobs and demands for businesses, they are an investment in building the modern infrastructure our country needs to compete in a global economy.

“With the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO standing together to support job creation, we hope that Democrats and

Can Obama’s 21st Century Vision Become a Reality?

Even with the powerful lobby of the two giant organizations of labor and business, it will be difficult to get Congress to approve a heavily-funded infrastructure bill that can create the millions of jobs that are needed.

The Republicns and conservative Democrats in the Senate have been wedded to the idea that spending must be slashed to reduce the the federal budget deficit, a goal strongly favored by the Chamber’s 3 million business members.

If Congress approves President Obama’s proposal for a five--year freeze on discretionary spending, where will the funding come for infrastucture projects?

If creating jobs for the millions of unemployed is (or should be) a top prority for the nation’s economic agenda, why are we letting corporations outsource hundreds of thousands of good-paying American jobs to China, India, Malasyia and other low- wage countries, with no effective effort by the Obamaa administration to stop the practice?

* * * * *

With nearly 15 million people officially unemployed, many of them without a job for a year or more, the White House and Congress ought to set a target for how many millions of jobs will be created by government and industry within a certain period of time. We need a national jobs administrator, like Harry Hopkins during the New Deal, who kept detailed records of the progress of work projects.

And we need a national policy for the millions of workers who may never have a payng job again. This is America, where we take care of the unfortunate ones. Don’t we?—Harry Kelber

LaborTalk will be posted here on February 3, 2011 and on our two web sites and on