AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka delivered the following remarks at a rally in support of federal employees and AFGE:
Thank you, Brother J. David (Cox)! Your leadership in the face of ruthless attacks is an inspiration to working people everywhere. There’s no one I’d rather have leading this fight, and it’s an honor to call you my brother.
Folks, this is a time of enormous challenge. This administration and the corporate right-wing are coming after our most fundamental rights and freedoms. They’re attacking the dignity of the public servants who make our country work. They’re trying to strip our collective bargaining rights...our voice on the job...our very way of life.
Brothers and sisters, we’re not going to take it!
Because here’s the truth: throughout the entire history of our movement, we’ve never had anything handed to us. I see all the red here today and I am reminded that our movement was built on the blood of those who came before us.
We’ve fought for every victory. We stopped child labor. We brought you the weekend. We made health care more affordable and accessible. And we made the federal government a place where you can work hard, raise a family and get ahead.
Brothers and sisters, that’s why they’re coming after AFGE. You are the embodiment of what the labor movement can and should be. And they don’t like it. You organize in a right to work environment every day of every year. And guess what? You’re still growing. So now President Trump wants to change the rules of the game. Well I have a message for him: not on our watch!
It’s time to fight like hell...to end the injustice plaguing us...to end the indignity we face...to end the inequality crippling our country...to end the egregious idea that exploitation is good government.
This is our moment to reclaim America for the people who build it and the public servants who make it work!
Brothers and sisters, are you ready to fight? ARE YOU READY TO FIGHT?
This is our country...the nation you serve every day...and it’s high time...high time...we took it back!
They want to take away our freedom to bargain. WE SAY HELL NO!
They want to silence our voice. WE SAY HELL NO!
They want to demonize those who serve our country. WE SAY HELL NO!
They want to us to sit down and shut up. WE SAY HELL NO!
Because we care for our veterans. We serve our seniors. We protect our environment. We keep America healthy. We keep America safe. We make America strong.
And no one...I mean no one...is going to push us around.
Thank you. God bless you!