AFL-CIO Boss Discusses #OccupyWallSt, Alleged Communist Ties, Obama & Jobs

The following video is from C-Span and was taped on October 18th.

During the 45-minute show, Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO, discusses a myriad of topics and answers questions from callers. [See below for approximate timeline.]

    • Program Start: OccupyWallStreet movement & unions’ role
    • 1:40 – Trumka on #OWS: “We thought they’d try to marginalize us.”
    • 2:15 – “I applaud them, we support them….A shining example of what democracy is all about.”

    • 2:30 – Trumka responds to question as to whether AFL-CIO would sever ties if #OccupWallSt were to have violence.
    • 3:00 – Any future potential #OccupyWallSt violence could be ‘people sent in to foment’ violence
    • 3:10 – “This is a movement that speaks for millions of people…”
    • 3:35 – On the AFL-CIO’s involvement with #OccupyWallSt
    • 3:55 – Discusses messages “heard” from #OccupyWallSt protesters
    • 4:40 – Claims so-called Robin Hood Tax is #OccupyWallSt idea [which is false]
    • 5:30 – Blames GOP for not passing Obama’s jobs plan
    • 6:50 – “…they opposed it because he proposed it…”
    • 8:00 – First Caller: Addresses comment on union corruption, forced dues… [Note: The second caller called to reccomend that C-Span have an author on a later show.]
    • 9:30 – “We [union offcials] are more regulated than any group out there…”
    • 11:25 – Third Caller: Trumka explains unions’ political program
    • 12:20 – Unions will be talking to all workers, not just their members
    • 13:15 – On whether AFL-CIO will support Barack Obama’s re-election
    • 14:00 – Explaining union expenditures on politics: Unions spend very little on candidates, most spent on educating members
    • 14:30 – Discusses AFL-CIO SuperPac
    • 15:45 – Fourth Caller: Trumka defends against Communists at 2010 One Nation rally
    • 17:35 – Fifth Caller More discussion about Communist Party
    • 18:15 – Sixth Caller Discusses bailing out Main Street
    • 20:25 – Discussion on free trade agreements
    • 22:50 – Discussion on supporting Obama even though AFL-CIO pledged to work against any politician back free trade agreements
    • 23:50 – Seventh Caller: Addresses caller question on Obama record on jobs, blames Senate GOP for filibusters
    • 30:20 – Eighth Caller: Pro-union caller discusses ending war
    • 31:45 – Follow on to caller, uses marriage analogy between husband and wife to describe role of unions
    • 32:50 – “Without a union, you’re like a child. You have no recourse or no power to be able to move the employers…”
    • 33:00 – Responds to a Twitter question about secret ballots and the union desire to enact card check
    • 34:50 – Ninth Caller: Addresses caller question about why companies leaving U.S., using data only since 2000
    • 38:50 – Explains where the term “red neck” comes from

40:50 – Tenth Caller: Addresses question on “closed shop,” derides Right-to-Work laws [Note: The caller worked in the railroad industry, in which Right-to-Work laws do not apply.]

  • 42:05 – Eleventh Caller: Retired UAW member differentiates dues dollars going to candidates versus member education on political action or legislative action

In listening to Trumka speak, it cannot be ignored that while much of what he spoke about was based on his perspective as the president of the AFL-CIO, there were several times where he was either dodging the question (regarding the Communist ties to One Nation), misleading (such as his explanation of card check), or not giving full and complete answers (on why union officials [and labor relations] have been regulated since 1959).

In addition, to those unfamiliar with the difference between union expeditures on specific candidates versus union political expenditures, his comments were almost entirely misleading.

Via Open Secrets:


“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.” Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776

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