Trumka: Federal Workers Deserve Fair and Genuine Collective Bargaining

Washington, D.C.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka delivered the following remarks at a rally in support of federal workers:

Thank you, Brother J. David (Cox)! There is no tougher leader in the labor movement.

Good afternoon, brothers and sisters.

Are you fed up? Are you fired up?

The AFL-CIO just met in Chicago. 55 unions proud. 12.5 million members strong.

And we passed a statement. It said and I quote: “Federal workers deserve fair and genuine collective bargaining and representation free of any political agenda.”

That’s our position. That’s what we’re fighting for. That’s what this rally is all about.

Brothers and sisters, this administration is trying to crush our federal employees.

The executive orders. The government shutdown.

And now political hacks are tearing up union contracts.

They’re making it harder and harder to have a voice on the job.

They’re imposing collective bargaining agreements that aren’t collective, bargained or agreed to.

If this president thinks we’re just going to sit back and watch our fundamental rights be destroyed, he’s got another thing coming.

We will fight back in the courts.

We will fight back in Congress.

And we will fight back in the streets.

Brothers and sisters, are you ready to fight?

Are you ready to fight at the VA and the EPA and the Department of Education?

Unions are on the move.

Our popularity is at 64 percent, the highest in nearly 50 years.

As we speak, 50,000 workers are on strike at General Motors. UAW members. They, too, are fed up. And we send our love and support and solidarity to every single one of them.

Something is happening in America. Working people are refusing to settle for less. We are demanding a fair shot and a fair shake. And we are standing up to the bullies—in business and in government—who have held us down for too long.

Every day, federal employees wake up, go to work and serve our country with honor and distinction. You carry out your oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.

And too often, instead of heartfelt thanks, you get ridiculed. Vultures who want to profit from your public service tell us government bureaucrats are the problem.

They want AFGE to simply go away.

Well, brothers and sisters, on this day, in the shadow of the Capitol, in this country built by union hands and served by union heroes, I have a message for the president and ALL those who would harm our federal employees.

Your time is up!

Your days are done!

You’ve met your match!

We’re spoiling for a fight. I say, bring it on! We've taken your best shot, and we're still standing. We’re the true American patriots. We’re fearless. We’re strong. We’re powerful. We’re united.

And we’re going to fight for the men and women who empower our teachers...serve our seniors...protect our environment...and care for our veterans....the American patriots who keep our nation healthy and safe and strong and free.

This is our country...and it’s time...it’s high time...we took it back!

Thank you. God bless you all!