September 16, 2009
Statement of AFT President Randi Weingarten
on the Election of New AFL-CIO Officers
PITTSBURGH—America’s working people have inspiring new leadership that is tailor-made for our challenging times. Rich Trumka is a known fighter for worthy causes, and just as passionate a bridge-builder in his quest to achieve a more just society. With Liz Shuler and Arlene Holt Baker as part of his team, the AFL-CIO is poised to lead America’s labor movement to a position of greater strength.
The labor movement is America’s great equalizer and a powerful agent for creating opportunity. But, today, formidable forces are arrayed against working people and labor unions. We’re in an uphill battle. But it’s a battle we must fight and win.
This team is motivated—not cowed—by these challenges. And they reflect the diversity and strengths of the members they represent. We need a vibrant, relevant, new labor movement that reaches out to all workers, and that helps restore the economy, ensures fairness in the workplace, rebuilds the middle class and gives employees a greater voice.
Their task will not be easy. But unions are born of tough times and built for tough times. The new AFL-CIO leaders will have the strength and support of the American Federation of Teachers’ 1.4 million members to help usher in a new era of equality and opportunity. We share their desire to unify America’s labor movement to increase our ability to lift up the prospects and hopes of every working man and woman. Together, we will continue to make America a better, more equitable place.
# # # #
The AFT represents more than 1.4 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.