In a wide-ranging address before reporters at the National Press Club in Washington, AFL-CIO President John Sweeney renewed the federation’s call for universal health care, increases in the minimum wage and an end to the rampant outsourcing of U.S. jobs to low-wage foreign countries.
Sweeney also predicted the Employee Free Choice Act, legislation that would vastly improve workers’ organizing rights, would pass before President George Bush completes his second term.
Sweeney dismissed as fiction GOP claims of a robust economic picture in the U.S. and called for an aggressive response to a corporate strategy of shifting healthcare costs to employees while shrinking or eliminating pensions for hundreds of thousands of workers.
“Wounded workers aren’t the only casualties of the corporate job-killing strategy,” said Sweeney, who called outsourcing a self destructive strategy that leaves businesses with consumers who don’t have enough money to spend or save.
“It leaves governments with more demand for public services and subsidies – and fewer taxpayers to pay for them.”
During questions and answers following Sweeney’s formal remarks, the AFL-CIO president urged more members of Congress to co-sponsor the Employee Free Choice Act. The legislation currently has 208 co-sponsors in the House, including 10 Republicans, and 42 sponsors in the Senate.
Read the entire address here.