‘Treason! Treason!’ Trumka Shouted with Sputtering Rage

By September 15, 2010Labor Unions

The rhetoric coming from Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, would be ludicrious if it weren’t so poisonous.

Speaking in Columbus, Ohio, the national union leader took the usual populism to a new, ugly level.

Some of our politicians, and some of America’s biggest corporations have given up on America. Companies are sitting on $837 billion without creating jobs. Banks are clutching a trillion dollars in profits without lending to small businesses and consumers. Too many companies aren’t investing in the future, or in the country that made them great. All they want to do is scrape every ounce of flesh from our hides — for their profit.

Well I say that is economic treason!

The big health insurance companies – the same ones that racked up tens of billions in profits last year and paid their CEOs megabucks – they say they need premium increases of 20 percent or more for no reason at all – except guess what? Greed.

That’s economic treason! […]

Right. And the punishment for treason is what, Trumka? Is that the next step?

One of Trumka’s political allies should tell him to knock it off. Stop questioning people’s patriotism. Stop debasing the public debate. Stop stirring up hate.

(Hat tip: Mytheos Holt, Battle ’10 blog.)

UPDATE (3 p.m.): The AFL-CIO Blog is now highlighting Trumka’s invective, “Trumka: Union Votes Can Beat False Populism and Economic Treason.” When repetition robs this particular accusation of its impact, how will Trumka ratchet up the rhetoric? What slur could possibly come next?

Thing is, you don’t start using rhetoric like this in speeches without first kicking it around the office, talking about it with colleagues. So, the use of this ugly attack comes not in the heat of the moment, but rather as a cynical exercise. Guess our blog headline should have read, “‘Treason! Treason!’ Trumka Shouted with Faked Rage.”

Join the discussion 6 Comments

  • […] haven’t seen accounts of him accusing people of “economic treason” since his Oct. 6 speech to the Illinois AFL-CIO’s constitutional convention. The union […]

  • Carter Wood says:

    When every comment you make is a sour insult, one loses patience. If the blog so offends you, you don’t have to read it.

  • Karl says:


    I completely agree- 100%. The unions are no less at fault than the corporations or mass membership lobbying organizations. I wish there was another way to fund elections. As Ross Perot would say “I’m all ears” if anybody has the answer.

    Maybe equal air time for all? But that opens other bad doors and I really don’t have the answers. I do know that corporations (and union bosses) don’t have the general public’s interests at heart.


    Do you think the current status is acceptable or do you have better ideas? Or are you content to call posters miserable?

  • troy says:


    Why not include union lobbyists with corporate? Most Americans are sick of them funding their agenda on their members’ dimes…and I’m not a union member. Just tired of bailing them out for foolish spending and paying their leaders foolish amounts of money.

    Money can’t buy you love, but it can buy elections. I think we agree that this is sad.

  • Carter Wood says:

    How miserable one must be to accuse people of treason.

  • Karl says:

    Sorry, he’s correct. Corporations run America. Politicians are bought and paid for by corporate lobbyists. Americans are sick of it and we should be. The person (or corporation) who has the most money should NOT make the decisions for the rest of us. Period.

    What corporate America has done to the American worker is no less than treason and should be treated that way. Teddy Roosevelt is surely spinning in his grave.

    (and if you don’t want people to post comments- remove the “leave comment” tab)

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