AFL-CIO President: Wall Street ‘Destroyed 11 Million Jobs’

Apr 29, 2010 2:04pm

ABC News’ Rick Klein reports: While the Senate is moving toward completion of a sweeping financial regulatory reform bill, that’s not quieting the rhetoric from Wall Street’s traditional enemies in organized labor. The AFL-CIO today is organizing a 10,000-person rally and march on Wall Street today, as Big Labor continues its press for major changes in the way financial institutions do business.  “These guys destroyed 11 million jobs, and we want to make them pay,” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said on ABC’s “Top Line” today. “We’re having this big [rally] today to deliver three messages to Wall Street. One, you destroyed 11 million jobs, you ought to pay your fair share for recreating them. Two, start lending to the small banks and the midsized banks and three, take [away] the legions and  the army of lobbyists that you’ve sent to Washington, DC, to stop Wall Street reform. Let this happen — the country wants it, the economy needs it.”  Trumka added: “We’re not just bashing them. We’re saying bring them back under control, because you have the real economy and the financial economy. The financial economy was designed to help the real economy make things. Somewhere along the line it got completely out of kilter. These guys started making their own rules, they brought the economy to the brink of disaster, they destroyed 11 million jobs.” Trumka also said there’s “unanimous” support inside Big Labor for including a guest worker program as part of a comprehensive immigration bill, a point of contention for unions in previous debates on the subject. He also said he hasn’t given up on Congress passing the Employee Free Choice Act, a controversial labor-backed bill that would make it far easier for unions to organize. “We’re looking at ways to bring that up as we speak right now, to look at things to attach it to,” Trumka said. “We’re still fighting, and here’s why: America’s labor laws are broken, the economy’s broken.” On the big news out of Florida, with Gov. Charlie Crist, R-Fla., set to declare his candidacy as an independent for the Senate, Trumka said Democrats are likely to be “competitive” in a three-way race, with Rep. Kendrick Meek, D-Fla., taking on Crist and Republican Marco Rubio.  “There’s a bigger story here,” he said. “If you look at this, there really is no room in this current Republican Party for moderates. You have people like [Pennsylvania Sen.] Arlen Specter, you have Crist, you have people that were moderate and trying to do the right thing getting crowded out of the field. We think that’s sad. We’d rather have two parties that really did represent the best of America so that we can have the best candidates that are out there. I think this is just another example of what the Republican Party has become — they’re captured by the far right.” Watch the interview with Richard Trumka HERE. We also broke down the Florida developments with Republican strategist Rick Wilson, who joined us from Tallahassee. Watch that segment of “Top Line” HERE.

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