Trumka: We must create a different kind of economy

WASHINGTON - AUGUST 31:  AFL-CIO Secretary-Tre...
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Trumka: To Solve Job Crisis ‘We Must Create Different Kind of Economy’

by Mike Hall, Jan 6, 2010

After meeting with several unemployed San Diego workers this morning, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka spoke at a rally of workers, union, community and faith leaders calling for creation of a local jobs program.

What I’ve seen here this morning as I sat with some of the hard-working people of this great city—people who through no fault of their own are without jobs—is another grim reminder of the ever-present struggles of working families in this city, this state, this country.

He said the labor movement and the nation’s leaders must “respond as never before to create a different kind of economy.”

The San Diego rally was one of several stops on Trumka’s California tour to spotlight the need to create good jobs for America’s workers and to call for justice and fair contracts for hotel workers engaged in a bitter contract struggle with several national hotel chains.

The rally highlighted the San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council’s Local Jobs Agenda, which emphasizes hiring local workers for public works projects. The central labor council is pressing the City Council to adopt the agenda.

Before the rally, Trumka met with several long-term unemployed workers, including a laid-off hotel worker and single mom. The woman’s son has hemophilia and she not only lost her health coverage when she lost her job, but she cannot afford the premiums to keep her health care through COBRA.

In an example of what can be done to address the jobs crisis, Trumka spent part of the morning with students at the San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council’s pre-apprenticeship training program that helps prepare students for construction and building trades unions’ apprenticeships. The program focuses on at-risk youth. Trumka praised it for taking kids who had no where to go—kids who many folks had given up on them—and giving them the school and job skills they need to have a future.

Later today, Trumka will meet with union members, labor leaders and Orange County officials to discuss job creation projects and prospects there, especially a massive construction project in Irvine dubbed, “The Great Park.”

Tomorrow in Los Angeles, he will meet with students at the Electrical Workers (IBEW) Training Institute, where they are learning skills to prepare for family supporting jobs—with a special emphasis on green jobs. He also will join workers for a rally and picket in front of the Hyatt Century Plaza in Los Angeles.

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