Speech | Better Pay and Benefits

Trumka Praises "Better Deal" for Working People

Washington, D.C.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka made the following remarks at a press conference unveiling the labor proposals in Congressional Democrats' "Better Deal" platform.

Last week, the AFL-CIO held our convention in St. Louis. We listened to working people and came together around a bold agenda that will improve the lives of all working families.

And today, we’re here to talk about how the Democrats have also listened and responded with a true workers’ rights agenda as part of the “Better Deal.”

I want to thank Leader Schumer and Leader Pelosi and everyone up here today with us. These are true champions of working people at a time when too many politicians have lost their way. We see their leadership every day, and it has led to these very important proposals.

I’m proud to stand with them as the Democratic Party embraces strengthening unions and expanding collective bargaining as a core value and necessary element of a fair and growing economy and a strong democracy.

In the labor movement, we’re ready to take on the challenges of our time and we’re building the unified and diverse movement to do it. We’re devoting more resources to organizing and building new alliances. We’re leading with our issues and engaging working people at every level, every day.

But we also know that the law is going to have to change so there’s a level playing field to do it. I can tell you countless stories about how our current labor law has completely failed working people. How employers see taking away rights from workers as simply a cost of them doing business. And how there is a coordinated, well-funded attack on the freedoms of working people from the state level to the Supreme Court.

Changing the rigged rules of our economy by uniting behind the labor proposals in the “Better Deal” is the right step forward. Not only for the labor movement, but for the Democratic Party, for our country and for our economy.

To be perfectly honest, Democrats in the past in some ways have lost their connection with working people and our communities who have made up their base for generations. But each time one of these policies pass that bond will become stronger and stronger.

And that’s why today’s set of proposals have to be more than just proposals. Improving the lives of working families has to be the fundamental basis for which Democrats fight. I’m confident the Democratic leaders here today will do just that and we’re ready to do our part to make real policy change.

On behalf of working people everywhere, I want to say to the leaders here thank you for listening. Thank you for responding. And thank you in advance for waging the battle to make workers’ lives better in the future.

Explore the Issue