The AFL-CIO blog is reporting on the union-funded Economic Policy Institute’s “Spotlight on the Jobs Crisis” panel discussion this morning, a gathering of “progressive” leaders. Speakers are: Richard L. Trumka, AFL-CIO president; Deepak Bhargava, Executive Director of the Center for Community Change; Wade Henderson, the president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR); Benjamin Todd Jealous, President and CEO the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People; EPI President Lawrence Mishel; andJanet Murguía, President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Council of La Raza.
Trumka’s jobs agenda appears to be an agenda for government jobs:
Trumka is proposing five steps to help end the nation’s ongoing jobs crisis. In the face of a 10 percent official unemployment rate and millions more underemployed or struggling with long-term unemployment, Trumka says, we need immediate action to put people back to work. The five key steps are:
1. Extend the lifeline for jobless workers.
2. Rebuild America’s schools, roads and energy systems.
3. Increase aid to state and local governments to maintain vital services
4. Fund jobs in our communities.
5. Put TARP funds to work for Main Street.
Too general to critique, and there could well be good projects amid the government spending — infrastructure, for example. But the Workforce Fairness Institute notes that the AFL-CIO’s oft-stated priority is the Employee Free Choice, the forced unionization “card check” legislation. WFI issued a statement this morning from its executive director, Katie Packer:
In a comedic yet troubling display of hypocrisy, Richard Trumka will announce this morning “bold, quick action to put people back to work.” And his solution? A bill that would kill 600,000 jobs in the first year alone. Trumka’s solution to double-digit, historic unemployment is support for job-killing legislation that will only put more people out of work and force our nation’s top job producers – small businesses – to close their doors. Union bosses have demonstrated a willingness to distort the truth in order to get the “payback” they believe they are owed in the form of the Employee ‘Forced’ Choice Act. The notion that this legislation would do anything but further damage our economy is complete nonsense.
UPDATE (11:10): Video of Trumka’s remarks is here. He does indeed make a quick reference to the Employee Free Choice Act, urging its passage. The interesting thrust of the AFL-CIO program is that it relies entirely on the government. The private sector barely enters into his discussion, except as a recipient of government funds.
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