The Labor & Employment Blog is a forum for practitioners and Bloomberg BNA editors to share ideas, raise issues, and network with colleagues.
Friday, November 9, 2012
by Michael Rose
The big news this week, of course, was the election. And while
attention is now turning to the nation's financial picture and the
so-called fiscal cliff that looms if Congress fails to strike a deal averting automatic tax increases and spending cuts, labor unions took some time on
November 7 to talk about their contributions to the election
At a news conference the morning after President Obama was
re-elected and the balance of power in Congress remained the same,
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka told reporters that the labor
federation's election efforts had contributed to Obama's wins in
Ohio, Nevada, and Wisconsin, and that the results would have turned
out differently if not for union efforts.
The AFL-CIO also released the results of a survey showing that
65 percent of all union members voted for Obama, compared with
about half of the overall voting population. While 48 percent of
voters supported Mitt Romney, only 33 percent of union members
voted for him, the survey results showed.
"By a huge majority, people believe President Obama will help
working people while they saw Mitt Romney as more interested in
helping the wealthy," Trumka said. "They believe that President
Obama will work to build a strong middle class and invest in
Trumka also drew attention to the federation's efforts to press
issues important to middle class families during the lame-duck
session of Congress. As lawmakers' attention turns to nation's
financial situation and the fiscal cliff, the AFL-CIO, along with
various other organizations, ran a full-page ad in the Washington
Post, urging Obama and Congress to "ask all Americans to pay their
fair share of taxes," prioritize job creation, minimize cuts to
social programs, and avoid the automatic spending cuts and tax
increases that will take place if a deal is not struck by January.
Business leaders stand opposed to the automatic cuts and tax
increases too, although their approaches are likely to cause
friction as a deal is hammered out. U.S. Chamber of Commerce
President Thomas Donohue said Obama and Congress "must act to
prevent this fiscal cliff, while committing to negotiate a Big Deal to
control the national debt by reforming entitlements and taxes and
boosting American energy production."
Of course, Obama favors raising taxes on higher-income
Americans, while Republicans in Congress generally are opposed to
tax increases. As the fiscal cliff looms, it's anyone's guess as to
how the situation plays out over the next few weeks, but it's a
good bet that organized labor will continue to be vocal.
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