14, Number 13
Why the AFL-CIO endorses Barack Obama
by John J. Sweeney
If ever working families needed change we can believe in, it is now.
America’s promise to working families has been broken by the deliberate corporatization of our economy. The basic needs and dreams of our families have been sold to the highest corporate bidders --- Big Oil, Big Pharma, the insurance industry, the giant mortgage lenders and the speculators.
With 80 percent of the public saying our country is headed in the wrong direction, it’s time to turn around America.
This primary season, we were blessed with a committed and talented group of working family champions running for the presidency. Each would have brought special strengths on our behalf to the White House. AFL-CIO unions embraced and campaigned mightily on behalf of former Senator John Edwards and Senators Chris Dodd, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama.
But now the AFL-CIO’s autonomous unions, representing 10.5 million working men and women from every walk of life, have come together to pledge our energy, our hearts and our grassroots strength to electing Barack Obama.
The reasons are many.
As the son of a single mother, as a Chicago community organizer and Illinois state senator, Obama saw firsthand and addressed the struggles of working families. And in his years in the US Senate, he has earned a 98 percent record of voting on behalf of working families.
On the greatest priorities of America’s union movement and the millions of working people we represent, Obama’s record and proposals ensure he is the right choice.
Good Jobs and Wages: Obama proposes an "aggressive strategy to create good, middle-class jobs," including hundreds of thousands of jobs in the renewable energy sector. He opposed the Bush administration’s move to take overtime pay rights from some 10 million workers. He strongly supports Davis-Bacon wage protections and project labor agreements and voted repeatedly to increase the minimum wage.
Health Care: Obama’s plan would provide health care for all, lower costs, improve quality and ensure no one could be denied care because of a pre-existing condition or illness.
Employee Free Choice Act: Obama is committed to ensuring that workers can choose to gain a union voice on the job and bargain with their employers for better wages, benefits and working conditions—without employer harassment or intimidation. He co-sponsored and voted for the Employee Free Choice Act and promises to sign it into law as president.
Fair Trade: Obama wants to end tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas and will oppose new trade agreements unless more steps are taken to protect American jobs and the environment.
Fair Taxes: Obama's tax proposal would give families making between $37,595 and $66,354 a year an average tax cut of $1,042, compared with the $319 proposed by rival John McCain.
Retirement Security: Obama opposes privatizing Social Security and has a solid record of supporting Social Security and Medicare, as well as opposing cuts in benefits. He also has fought to lower the cost of prescription drugs for seniors.
An Economy That Works for All: Obama says working families' current economic hardships were not "inevitable." They resulted from irresponsible economic policies by the Bush administration that gave tax breaks to the rich while cutting working family priorities. Obama consistently has fought tax cuts for the wealthy and program cuts for working families.
As president, Barack Obama can lead the change working families need.
Find out more about Barack Obama and his positions on key working family priorities at http://www.MeetObama08.org. Then help us spread the word.
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