January 23, 2012
By Richard L. Trumka, President, AFL-CIO
Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney—who killed thousands of jobs as a corporate raider—recently said he “likes being able to fire people.”
Romney’s record as a corporate raider backs up his words: He supports laws that attack workers’ rights and make it easier to fire people. Laws like the so-called “right to work” bill being considered in Indiana that targets collective bargaining, robbing workers of union protection.
If Indiana’s so-called “right to work” bill passes, the state’s unions no longer will stand between corporate raiders like Mitt Romney and many of the workers they like to fire to boost short-term profits. And it will become much harder for everyday workers to improve their wages, benefits and retirement security.
In 2011, we saw the beginnings of a new democratic movement for economic justice. We had the most solidarity I’ve seen at any time during my career in the labor movement. We shifted the debate. And we’ll keep doing it. But to translate this movement into lasting change, politics matter. Not just who we elect for president, but our choices at the state and local levels, too.
America wants to work—and it is politics as usual, not economic obstacles, standing in the way of putting people back to work. That’s why we’re promoting a job-creating agenda in statehouses around the country this year, focusing on priorities like:
• Making sure state tax dollars are used to keep jobs in that state and in America.
• Buying state-made and American-made goods—so we create jobs in our communities and in America.
• Stopping corporate tax loopholes and tax breaks for millionaires—so our states no longer are starved of the revenue they need for critical services.
Even though ruthless, corporate-backed attacks on workers continue, make no mistake: Our message—the message of the 99%—is taking root. Many politicians haven’t caught up yet. But they will. They’ll have to. Because people all across the country are saying our economy and our democracy are out of balance. They’re saying it’s time to create jobs for every person who wants to work—jobs that can support our families and that can support our dreams.