More Than Ever, We Must Build an Independent Labor Movement!
Whereas, on May 20, 2011, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka issued a statement in which he called for building an “independent labor movement that builds the power of working people — in the workplace and in political life.” Our role, Trumka said, “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 economy.”
Whereas, we need an independent labor movement that never subordinates the interests and needs of the working class to the dictates of politicians of either major party, as these politicians, with only a few exceptions, have demonstrated time and again that they will always defer to the corporate class.
Whereas, labor has been diverted from the struggle for an independent labor movement by the countless calls for “shared sacrifice” promoted by the employers and politicians in their service. Having accepted the framework of “shared sacrifice” has led labor to water down our demands and make compromises that have impeded us from mounting a powerful independent fightback movement, in alliance with our community partners, capable of rolling back the anti-worker assault and wresting concessions from the corporate class.
Whereas, in his 2013 State of the Union address and subsequently in his proposed 2014 budget, President Obama reiterated his call for spending cuts to our cherished social safety net programs — primarily to Social Security and Medicare — in his quest for a “Grand Bargain” with the Republicans and for “everybody doing their fair share.”
Whereas, Brother Trumka said that “cutting Social Security benefits and shifting costs to Medicare beneficiaries — while exempting corporate America from shared sacrifice — is wrong and indefensible.” But these cuts are wrong and indefensible whether or not corporate America agrees to the call for “shared sacrifice” and accepts to pay more taxes. There should be no cuts to our earned-benefits programs and social programs under any circumstances.
Whereas, defending, expanding and improving Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid — and all social programs — will require mobilizing the full strength of our unions in mass actions in the streets, in alliance with our community partners.
Therefore be it resolved that, the AFL-CIO convention affirms the urgent need to build an independent labor movement, rejecting any and all calls for “shared sacrifice” and drawing a hard, unmovable, line in the sand when it comes to promoting the demands and interests of our members and the working class majority.
Be it further resolved that, the AFL-CIO convention mandates the incoming AFL-CIO leadership to bring the full power of the labor movement to bear, in conjunction with retirees and civil rights organizations, in a huge mass mobilization in Washington, DC — where the decisions are made — to demand: Stop all the cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other social safety-net programs, expand and improve them, don’t cut them; Create a federal public works program to put the 27 million unemployed and underemployed people in our country back to work!