Thursday, December 17, 2009

Plan to Revitalize American Manufacturing

“Made in America” is a phrase we all want to start hearing again, and yesterday the White House moved in that direction by unveiling a sound and thoughtful plan to help revive America’s manufacturing sector. We are pleased that President Obama is working aggressively to address this issue.

We are particularly pleased by the leadership shown by Vice President Biden in this area, along with his work on behalf of middle class families. AFL-CIO Secretary Treasurer Liz Shuler and IBEW President Ed Hill met with the Vice President yesterday.

President Obama’s plan invests in our country by emphasizing job training, rebuilding our infrastructure, leveling the playing field in the area of trade, regulating our financial markets and, importantly, helping displaced workers who continue to struggle in the current economy. The plan recognizes that government must play an active role in order to strengthen and restore our manufacturing sector. And it acknowledges that losses on the order of the 5 million manufacturing jobs lost in the last 10 years and our $840 billion trade deficit cannot be sustained.

Major challenges remain. A framework on manufacturing must also address currency manipulation by our trading partners and the skyrocketing costs of health care for manufacturers. These issues keep America’s manufacturers at a disadvantage. In addition, we urge the Obama administration to call for strengthening the role of workers as partners in training and workforce development. In order to do this we must restore workers’ freedom to form unions by passing the Employee Free Choice Act.

We must also focus on building a workforce for the future by adequately investing in training and education for our young people, many of whom have been hit hardest by this economic crisis. We look forward to working with the Obama Administration and with Ron Bloom, the President’s Senior Counsel for Manufacturing Policy, in order to implement these ideas. Together we can revitalize our manufacturing sector and restore the nation’s middle class.

-- Statement by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on White House Plan to Revitalize American Manufacturing December 17, 2009

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Survey of Labor Representatives on Workforce Investment Boards

I am delighted to share with you the results of a new national survey of Labor Representatives who serve on Workforce Investment Boards (WIBs). Out of 900 WIB Labor Representatives contacted by email, more than 400 from 47 states and the District of Columbia participated in the survey conducted by the AFL-CIO Working for America Institute last August.

You can get a copy of the report on our website at:

or contact Katrina Dizon at and she can send you the PDF.

The results indicate that many boards can do much more in supporting policies and practices that can lead to better jobs and stronger communities. The survey also touches on a range of topics including whether the interests of workers are adequately represented on the boards and the degree to which WIBs are deliberative policy-making bodies.

WIBs can play an important role in helping reshape our national economy and training Americans for better jobs. Created under the Workforce Investment Act, which Congress passed in 1998, approximately 600 state and local boards are currently involved in making critical decisions on how to spend workforce development funds including billions of training funds under the new American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

ALSO OF NOTE: Besides the survey results, this report also includes summaries of recent conversations between Labor Representatives and Assistant Secretary of Labor Jane Oates on reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act.

Katrina Dizon
Working for America

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


As economic leaders gather in Washington for the White House Jobs Summit, working people will come together in Ohio, Minnesota, New Mexico, and California to talk about their experience in communities hard hit by the economic crisis. Members of Working America and the AFL-CIO will join religious and labor leaders in Dayton , Columbus , Minneapolis , Sacramento , and Albuquerque to discuss how the economic crisis has affected them and call for the implementation of national policies that will create good jobs immediately.

The roundtable discussions are part of an initiative led by the 11.5 million member AFL-CIO and affiliates like Working America to push for the immediate creation of good jobs. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka will be at the White House Jobs Summit calling for a five-point plan that will create and save at least 2 million jobs over the next year. The plan includes:

· Extending the lifeline for jobless workers;

· Rebuilding America’s schools, roads, and energy systems;

· Increasing aid to state and local governments to maintain vital services;

· Funding jobs in our communities; and

· Putting TARP funds to work for Main Street.

“The job crisis is hitting all working Americans across the country.” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said. “That’s why every day we are calling for immediate action to turn around the economy. We need jobs—now. And I’ll be delivering that message from millions of working people at the White House Jobs Summit.”

Working America represents 3 million members, 16.5 percent of which are unemployed, making it one of the largest organizations of unemployed workers in the country. Recently, Working America launched the Unemployment Lifeline (at which is a resource for people who’ve lost their jobs and are struggling to find a new one.

“Every night we talk to thousands of people in neighborhoods across the country and they all tell us the same thing – that they need urgent action on jobs and economy to stay afloat,” said Karen Nussbaum, Executive Director of Working America. “The jobs crisis is in every neighborhood, every family. The question we’re asking is what do working Americans think of the economy and how has it impacted them. That's just as important as what Goldman Sachs thinks.”