AFL-CIO: Less focus on Dems, more on jobs

Aug. 25, 2011 at 7:46 PM
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WASHINGTON, Aug. 25 (UPI) -- The president of the AFL-CIO said Thursday its members unions would reduce involvement with the Democratic Party and spend more money to help "working people."

Richard Trumka told reporters the nation's largest labor organization would move forward with plans to create a Super PAC that would enable it to spend unlimited amounts on political activity, Politico reported.

"We're going to use a lot of our money to build structures that work for working people," Trumka said. "You're going to see us give less money to build structures for others and more of our money will be used to build our own structure."

Doing so, he said, would make Democratic candidates more accountable for pledges they make while campaigning.

Trumka said many of those in the labor movement are considering not going to the 2012 Democratic convention.

"There are some of our affiliates that aren't going to participate," he said. "Were still talking about it."

Politico noted relations between labor and the Obama administration have been strained over issues including the failure to pass a union-backed card-check bill that would make organizing easier and the administration's backing of free-trade agreements with Colombia, South Korea and Panama.

Trumka complained the administration had focused on what he termed a manufactured deficit crisis instead of on creating jobs.

"I think he made a strategic mistake when he confused job crisis with deficit crisis," Trumka said. "He started playing on the Republican ground."

As Labor Day approaches, Trumka said: "Our working-class people are looking for three things: jobs, jobs, jobs."

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