Labor Steamed at Debt Deal, But Do They Blame Obama?


"When you've got people that are suicidal in the House of Representatives, that don't care about the economy or creating jobs, that makes it more difficult," Trumka told reporters after the meeting, according to Bloomberg News.

Trumka said the executive committee—made up of labor unions affiliated with the AFL-CIO—told the president that job creation has to be his number one concern.

"That has to be his first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth priorities," Trumka said, calling the meeting "productive."

The head of the nation's biggest labor federation added, "I don't think anybody quite knows what it is and its effect going forward, the effect on job creation," referring to the debt deal.

Alison Omens, AFL-CIO spokesperson, said the meeting was a "conversation about the urgent need to focus on job-creating policies that will propel working people and our economy forward."

Omens said the union leaders spoke with the president about "working together for solutions that will put people back to work."

"Working people are desperate to hear how we're going to focus on the real economy and the jobs crisis and President Obama conveyed his own feeling of urgency around dealing with the jobs crisis," Omens said.

The same day they met the AFL-CIO released a statement blasting the deal for not helping create jobs and stressing the legislation, also called the Budget Control Act of 2011, hurts working families. Among other points, the statement says the bill "virtually" ensures that "Congress will spend another four months focused on budget-cutting instead of jobs and investment in the future. This means the fight to protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid has just begun."

"The imbalanced budget deal is a product of extortion by House Republicans and is out of step with the American people–and is even more right-wing, in fact, than the average Republican," the statement reads.

The current president of the SEIU, which has over two million members, Mary Kay Henry, released a statement on the legislation calling it a "raw deal for working people and the 30 million Americans who are still looking for work." Calling it "morally wrong legislation" the statement says it "does not end the threat to the millions of children and seniors who rely on Medicaid and Medicare for their healthcare or the workers who care for them."

Henry goes after the Republican leadership in Congress saying that Speaker John Boehner, McConnell, Rep. Eric Cantor, and congressional Republicans "degraded our national discourse by fighting tooth and nail to protect tax giveaways to corporations and millionaires by taking any type of truly shared sacrifice off the table."

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