The AFL-CIO Union Label and Service Trades Department (UL&STD) celebrated its centennial earlier this month by looking forward to the future. Delegates to the department’s convention in Pittsburgh adopted new strategies to help working families cope with the new American workplace and to help them rebuild the American middle class.
The convention adopted several resolutions to prepare for the next phase of the department’s growth. A key resolution modified the department’s functions to emphasize information and communication sharing. Another resolution called on affiliated unions to help improve the quality of data on union-made goods and services, to link any product lists on their websites to the Union Label website and to regularly advise the department of goods and services made by union members.
The delegates also re-elected President Richard Kline and Secretary-Treasurer James Dunn and chose 17 vice presidents.
In his keynote address at the convention, United Steelworkers (USW) President Leo Gerard praised President Obama’s decision to enforce trade laws and provide relief to the U.S. tire industry from the surge of tire imports from China.
Finally, we have a president who is not afraid to act.
[The tire decision] won’t result in the opening of a closed tire plant, but it does send the message that an American president is willing to stand up for workers.
Saying “No one is going to stand up for union jobs but us,” Gerard called for a rejuvenation of the union label movement to create and protect U.S. jobs.
Gerard said the outcry by the National Association of Manufacturers and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce against the Buy American provisions in the administration’s economic recovery legislation demonstrates how much those two organizations have betrayed their American constituency.
When we are using taxpayer dollars to stimulate the economy, it should be stimulating our economy, not Bulgaria’s, not China’s.
Just days before being elected president of the AFL-CIO, Richard Trumka told the delegates union members must make sure our elected officials hear our voice and hold them accountable.
Over the long history of the labor movement, we have always been willing to step up to the plate and do what was necessary, now the political leadership has to do the right thing and get America back up to full employment.
Trumka said union members face some tough challenges and the union movement will have to be tougher, edgier, a lot more forceful and a lot more demanding than in the past. To illustrate the point, Trumka said the AFL-CIO has informed the Obama administration of its bottom-line requirements for health care reform.
We have already told the White House there will be no tax on health benefits. We want to see companies like Wal-Mart pay for the health care for their workers and we need a public option.