Labor looking to distance themselves from Democrats?

posted at 9:19 am on May 20, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Politico included a curious heads-up in its morning e-mail blast today regarding a speech later this afternoon by AFL-CIO chief Richard Trumka at the National Press Club.  One of the more frequent visitors to the Obama White House will tell the media that the labor movement will begin to move away from supporting “one party” after hearing from its membership, and instead work on policy that impacts working families:

AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka will outline his view of the 2012 landscape in an appearance at the National Press Club this afternoon, and pledge to “spend the summer holding elected leaders in Congress as well as the states accountable on one measure: Are they improving or degrading life for working families?” In his address, Trumka will amplify recent signals from organized labor that unions don’t just want to be an arm of the Democratic Party in 2012. “We are looking hard at how we work in the nation’s political arena,” Trumka will say, according to prepared remarks. “We have listened hard, and what workers want is an independent labor movement that builds the power of working people-in the workplace and in political life. Our role is not to build the power of a political party or a candidate. It is to improve the lives of working families and strengthen our country.”

It’s no secret that Big Labor has found Barack Obama and Democratic majorities to be disappointing.  Democrats have done nothing to advance their highest priority — Card Check — although the recess appointment of Craig Becker has the NLRB trying to force businesses to knuckle under to labor on almost every other front.  Trumka and the labor movement pushed hard to get recalcitrant Democrats to back the wildly unpopular ObamaCare bill, staging demonstrations at townhall meetings and intimidating Tea Party activists, only to get nothing much back in return.

In fact, assuming Trumka’s on the level, that might be a big reason for the shift away from Democrats.  Their strong-arm tactics on ObamaCare backfired.  The bill passed, but its unpopularity hasn’t helped a labor movement that hasn’t been relevant to most Americans in decades.  The rather blatant politicking on behalf of Obama and the Democrats on Obamacare has made the labor movement an even bigger and more popular target for the Tea Party activists they once attempted to bully.

It’s no coincidence that efforts to break the stranglehold of public-employee unions on public policy through collective-bargaining limitations and open-shop laws have sprung up in a number of states after Labor’s performance on ObamaCare.  Whatever illusions the labor movement successfully planted about independence with the electorate dissipated at those town halls, and the people want to take back control of public policy.  In Wisconsin, once an epicenter of Midwestern populism, they succeeded — and in Indiana and Ohio as well.

But is Trumka being honest?  He’s probably being honest about the feedback he’s getting from the rank and file, many of whom don’t support the radical Left agenda of the union bosses.  Trumka will want to re-establish the mirage of independence while funding Democrats, but he’d be better advised to follow his own stated advice here.  First, in an age of forced transparency through technology and easy activism, the illusion simply won’t hold any longer; people will see where the money goes.

More importantly, if the labor movement wants to survive at all, existentially as well as politically, they need to get out of the business of agenda-carrying and stick to the issues that directly relate to their members’ lives — and find ways to work with both major political parties.  Part of their marginalization comes from the sell-out of Labor to Democrats, which give Republicans zero incentive to work with them.  That only benefits Labor when Democrats hold all the power — and as they discovered to their chagrin between 2009-2010, even those benefits are illusory.

Update: Jammie Wearing Fool says that you can buy the Brooklyn Bridge at a discount these days, too.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Sure, Trumka, whatever you say…

ladyingray on May 20, 2011 at 9:23 AM

This is just another charade to claim Obama is going centrist.

promachus on May 20, 2011 at 9:24 AM

What, Duh Unions are going to reform the Communist Party?

Steve Eggleston on May 20, 2011 at 9:24 AM

Would you believe anything they have to say? Outside of “give us more money”.

jake-the-goose on May 20, 2011 at 9:25 AM

I hope this means they can finally smell what they stepped in long ago.

Nahhh.

Patrick S on May 20, 2011 at 9:25 AM

Honestly, if they want to stay around…maybe they should become…partners with management instead of being the leech that sucks the life out of an enterprise.

search4truth on May 20, 2011 at 9:27 AM

In an effort to look independent, Labor will back some republicans in districts where the democrat has no chance, but they will continue to support only democrats for President and every other election where the outcome is close.

Monkeytoe on May 20, 2011 at 9:27 AM

Inevitably, Communism always consumes itself. It’s the nature of the beast. Each of them want to control the “Common Good”, and end up devouring each other. It’s just too bad everyone else has to struggle to survive until these Commies fall from power again.

adamsmith on May 20, 2011 at 9:28 AM

If you believe this…

“Our role is not to build the power of a political party or a candidate. It is to improve the lives of working families and strengthen our country.”

If they truly want to strengthen our country, the union movement will go away. All they want to do is strengthen their own corrupt criminal organizations. It’s time to use RICO on the greedy unions.

slickwillie2001 on May 20, 2011 at 9:28 AM

partners with management instead of being the leech that sucks the life out of an enterprise.

(not that it will happen, mind you)

search4truth on May 20, 2011 at 9:28 AM

Didn’t I read that Tennessee was ready to pass Wisconsin-like laws, with nary a whimper from the press or public? Trumka wants to attach his anchor to our boat, too.

Marcus on May 20, 2011 at 9:29 AM

Too funny

Reap what you’ve sown bub

Dear leader is the only friend you have left

cmsinaz on May 20, 2011 at 9:32 AM

Part of their marginalization comes from the sell-out of Labor to Democrats, which give Republicans zero incentive to work with them. That only benefits Labor when Democrats hold all the power — and as they discovered to their chagrin between 2009-2010, even those benefits are illusory.

Exactly. The writing is on the wall for 2012 and they’ve made an enemy of the Republican Party.

They’re still the same old socialists though. Nobody is fooled by the “New Civility”. We’ve seen such ugliness from Big Labor this year that I think it’s safe to say these people have ruined themselves with the public. Their best bet for survival would be to get back in the business of seeing to their own and out of politics. But they won’t. It’s not in their nature.

Murf76 on May 20, 2011 at 9:32 AM

This slob basically lives at the White House and we’re supposed to believe he wants to be independent?

I don’t think so, Dick.

JammieWearingFool on May 20, 2011 at 9:33 AM

OMG, that is just astounding. They basically admit that they are an arm of the Democrat party. This statement is so FOS on so many levels. Apparently their inner polling shows that the Dems will lose both the Presidency and the Senate. LOLOLOLOLOL….

mrsmwp on May 20, 2011 at 9:34 AM

Our role is not to build the power of a political party or a candidate.

Anyone who believes this statement is a sucker and a rube. Trumka is a thug and a bald-faced liar, just like his plant in the WH.

CantCureStupid on May 20, 2011 at 9:35 AM

Not buying your b.s. Trumpka. This is just a charade.

rbj on May 20, 2011 at 9:35 AM

The democrats are too far to the right for labor’s liking.

Vashta.Nerada on May 20, 2011 at 9:36 AM

I don’t buy this one bit. This is pseudo-distancing themselves from Democrats to make it appear as if they are moving away from them and thusly, listenening to their rank and file. Next fall they’ll all be pulling the big Circle D gang lever again.

ted c on May 20, 2011 at 9:37 AM

Richard Trumka…pushing for a party more to his liking.

Far more “progressive” than Obama can ever be, is what Trumka is looking for, so, no, he will not be courting the Right nor the center at all, since neither will cave in to his thuggery.

coldwarrior on May 20, 2011 at 9:39 AM

Well, where are they going to go? Not to the evil Republicans. I am sure that they are having their problems, but who can believe the “suits”? Besides Obama isn’t done with us yet. He has to kill every freedom loving thought that will ever be thought by the great unwashed.

BetseyRoss on May 20, 2011 at 9:40 AM

“We have listened hard, and what workers want is an independent labor movement that builds the power of working people-in the workplace and in political life. Our role is not to build the power of a political party or a candidate.

What absolute bullsh!t….

Unions put about 200 million dollars in Obama’s pocket and are poised to do more.
He has rewarded them with direct access to the White House and the power associated with it…..powerful appointments of union leaders,legislation that puts millions in their pockets,and a press corps that ignores the hatred,violence,and bigotry that comes from them on a daily basis.

This is who the unions are:

http://gatewaypundit.rightnetwork.com/2011/05/ragins-cussing-moveon-org-thugs-harass-citizen-journalist-outside-paul-ryan-event-video/

….this has nothing to do with what’s “good for the country” and everything to do with corrupt power grabs by socialist leftist.

Baxter Greene on May 20, 2011 at 9:41 AM

Can the leopard change his spots?

Akzed on May 20, 2011 at 9:41 AM

The oldest trick in the book – blackmail.

OldEnglish on May 20, 2011 at 9:44 AM

I guess the picture indicates that Obama’s driving!

royzer on May 20, 2011 at 9:45 AM

“First, in an age of forced transparency through technology and easy activism, the illusion simply won’t hold any longer; people will see where the money goes.”

Really. I hope so. Try this.

“First, in an age of forced transparency through technology and easy activism, the illusion simply won’t hold any longer; people will see where the money goes,” and the obvious need for entitlement reform.

burt on May 20, 2011 at 9:45 AM

In other words…

They will give RINOs some lip service, but at the last second they will endorse the Democrat and bus in their people to vote in elections for Democrats. This does not just mean legal voting either.

jeffn21 on May 20, 2011 at 9:47 AM

Pffft. If the implication from this is that we’re supposed to think that he’s had an epiphany and will begin cozying up to Republicans now, I think we can fugedaboutit.

Buy Danish on May 20, 2011 at 9:48 AM

Are they improving or degrading life for working families?

And by “working families” he means “union families”.

strictnein on May 20, 2011 at 9:50 AM

Our role is not to build the power of a political party or a candidate. It is to improve the lives of working families and strengthen our country.”

“And if that means rioting, destroying, vandalizing, assaulting, cheating, lying and any other necessary ‘ing’ then so be it.”

-Unions

Bishop on May 20, 2011 at 9:51 AM

Wasn’t Trumka caught on tape just a few weeks ago bragging about how he has a direct line to the White House?

Doughboy on May 20, 2011 at 9:53 AM

Anyone who believes this tripe needs to get their heads examined. Every move these leeches make is calculated and after extensive polling this what they came up with.

MJZZZ on May 20, 2011 at 9:55 AM

GWB held his hand out to Labor, and they spit on it. As a union member, I’ve long said one of organized labor’s greatest failings is that they follow the Democrats like a blind dog.

One example: the Democrats’anti-domestic energy policy is is a job killer.

The jobs (drilling…mining…production…facility construction…transportation) that Democrat energy policy kills/prevents would in large measure be union jobs. But they are “friends of Labor”? Not hardly.

And trust me, I’m not the only one that can see it.

tgharris on May 20, 2011 at 10:00 AM

Our role is not to build the power of a political party or a candidate. It is to improve the lives of working families and strengthen our country.”

Translation: We’re still going to dump our money on Dems, but we’ll hedge our bets with Huntsman.

John Deaux on May 20, 2011 at 10:00 AM

Huh.
He must have read this:
The union label stifles growth and jobs

“Between 1993 and 2009, right-to-work states created jobs twice as fast as states where forced unionism is permitted, and enjoyed 10 percent faster growth in personal income. Right-to-work states account for only 40 percent of the U.S. population but hosted 60 percent of the nation’s new businesses during that same period.”

mrt721 on May 20, 2011 at 10:05 AM

Trumpka is usually lying when his lips are moving.

GarandFan on May 20, 2011 at 10:19 AM

Sure, Dick…Look, why don’t you try this – “ou can believe me… seriously. I’m a life-long Republican.. No, really, I mean it! I voted for McCain!!”

Yeah. Because we’re exactly THAT stupid…

Dirty Creature on May 20, 2011 at 10:21 AM

It’s worth remembering that “Working Families” is simply the most recent code word(s) thought up by the left, as the terms “liberal” and “progressive” turn off more and more people. In New York, the Working Families Party is actually to the left of the state’s Democratic Party and has been involved in allegations of ACORN-like voter fraud already in elections there.

So if you see Trumka using that phrase, it’s a wink and a nod to the faithful that the goals haven’t changed, only the messaging, in an attempt to fool others into believing the unions have gotten the message.

jon1979 on May 20, 2011 at 10:21 AM

Since the Dems won’t make Trumka the Duke of the Western Hemisphere, he must look elsewhere.

DAT60A3 on May 20, 2011 at 10:25 AM

Worried about the Cuda reaching out to those Reagan Democrats ThugKa. You betcha!

The only news I want to hear reported about Thugka is when this murderer goes to jail.

Jayrae on May 20, 2011 at 10:27 AM

tell the media that the labor movement will begin to move away from supporting “one party” after hearing from its membership, and instead work on policy that impacts working families:

Translation: Those Republicans are hurting us. We’ve got to find some way to buy them off!

unclesmrgol on May 20, 2011 at 10:49 AM

Duuuuuuuuuuuh cuz we all so stupid…anaythin Trumka sez, we beleeve. Duuuuuuuuuuh

capejasmine on May 20, 2011 at 10:49 AM

Talk to the hand, Trumka.

perries on May 20, 2011 at 11:16 AM

Yeah and NARAL, NOW, NAACP and Green Peace will also distance itself from the Dims, lol.

angryed on May 20, 2011 at 11:19 AM

Trumka sees the possibility of a very conservative Republican House and Senate and perhaps Republicans in control of it all in 2012. He needs the illusion that unions will be more bipartisan in their politics and campaign contributions. Otherwise congressional investigations will commence and unions will be looking at at least four years with zero support in government.

artman1746 on May 20, 2011 at 11:33 AM

Whatever the truth, the goonions are coming unglued. This is both their way of signaling the Lemoncrats that they’re running out of cash (the supreme court fraud effort in WI must’ve bled them a bit) and feebly courting moderate goonion members who’ve eaten enough Trumka poop to last a lifetime.

OT: Has anyone seen a post anywhere of the audio of the SEIU exec who claims to have intercepted emails and phone calls of union opposition? I caught a brief earful on the radio the other day, but haven’t seen it posted. Thanks.

Western_Civ on May 20, 2011 at 11:34 AM

JWF’s right, the Brooklyn Bridge is on sale this week.

petefrt on May 20, 2011 at 11:44 AM

RICO all of those union b@st@rds!

Roy Rogers on May 20, 2011 at 11:46 AM

Trumka says what he must…probably is afraid of some oversight committee looking into his close relationship with Obama.
Anytime someone like him begins this type of propaganda, it’s for thee, not for thou.
I would look for a major poll or a major breaking news story involving how the unions are mishandling money and directing their money to exclusive dem candidates.
Also, he may be just setting himself up for a major change in the White House and Senate, that is just one year away, and the if he is totally on the losing side, he knows he will lose more than a “friend”.

right2bright on May 20, 2011 at 11:48 AM

partners with management instead of being the leech that sucks the life out of an enterprise.
(not that it will happen, mind you)

search4truth on May 20, 2011 at 9:28 AM

When private sector union leadership recognizes that a healthy company is as much in their interest as it is in the interest of the shareholders and managers, a positive relationship can develop. I worked as the Safety Manager very well with a United Steel Workers local to reduce injury rates 80% and thus compensation costs over a 10 year period. The problem is that in the Public sector while safety may be a mutual interest, there is no clear mutual interest economic interest that can be persued. If the work is done more efficiently, the extra profits are not shared and a reduction in headcount due to efficiency is a loss of union dues to the union.

KW64 on May 20, 2011 at 12:43 PM

Labor looking to distance themselves from Democrats?

Yeah, LOL. I’ve got some ocean front property to sell you in SD.

Mirimichi on May 20, 2011 at 12:56 PM

And by “working families” he means “union families”.

strictnein on May 20, 2011 at 9:50 AM

Not so. He means union officers families.

burt on May 20, 2011 at 1:19 PM

Labor looking to distance themselves from Democrats ObaMao.

Slowburn on May 20, 2011 at 5:27 PM