Tag Archives: Randel Johnson

After Helping Obama Clinch Battleground States, Organized Labor Makes Demands

Key leaders of organized labor were rejoicing at the end of election night, as exit polls showed that labor’s enormous voter turnout turned the tide in favor of Obama in the key battleground states of Ohio, Nevada and Wisconsin.

These leaders, such as AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka are hoping their president will present as a more liberal, union-friendly, leader who will push their agenda from the White House.

Richard Trumka

“There are things the president can do, and we’ll be expecting that leadership from President Obama,” Trumka told reporters after the election.

At the top of labor’s expectations is a definitive tax-hike for America’s wealthiest citizens. Labor leaders also hope that Obama will not make any deals with Republicans over the approaching “fiscal cliff” the country is scheduled to fall off of, when safety nets such as Social Security and Medicare experience across-the-board budget cuts.

Labor leaders have other issues on their agenda as well. They would like to see new rules that could help increase their shrinking membership lists, including new investment in infrastructure which would create more construction jobs for trade unions. More liberal requirements for immigrants to become citizens could pave the way for 11 million undocumented Latino workers to flood the ranks of the labor unions. Other reforms could also make it easier to organize unions in certain spheres.

It might not be so simple for organized labor to get their way, however. Business groups which are opposed to these changes will continue, as they have in the past, reforms that will help unions get new members.

“My primary concern is in the regulations,” said Randel Johnson, vice president at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for labor issues. “We are afraid that on employment issues, the administration will stay firmly to the left and follow the lead of the unions.”