Card Check and Trade: President Obama Addresses the AFL-CIO

By September 15, 2009Labor Unions, Trade

President Obama spoke to the AFL-CIO national convention in Pittsburgh this afternoon. In introducing him, the union’s president, John Sweeney, hailed the Administration’s trade sanctions against Chinese tire imports, receiving a rousing cheer.

Unfortunately, the President did not say a single word about trade policy in his remarks. As we noted below, President Obama highlighted the economic value of trade in his speech yesterday in New York City, declaring his Administration’s commitment to pursuing new trade agreements. The seriousness of that commitment would have reinforced if the President had repeated the same comments to the labor crowd today.

As for card check, here’s what he said:

We’ll grow our middle class by building a strong labor movement. That’s why I named Hilda Solis, the daughter of union members, as our new Labor Secretary. Hilda and I know that whether we’re in good economic times or bad, labor is not the problem — labor is part of the solution.

That’s why we’ve begun reversing and replacing old anti-labor Executive Orders and policies with ones that protect your benefits; protect your safety; and protect your rights to organizing and collective bargaining. That’s why the very first bill I signed into law was the Lilly Ledbetter Act to uphold the basic principle of equal pay for equal work. And that’s why I stand behind the Employee Free Choice Act — because if a majority of workers want a union, they should get a union.

Then he moved on to the next topic. The statement elicited a huge cheer, but …well, one sentence for EFCA?

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