2008 Presidential Election

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PUT AMERICA BACK TO WORK FIRST

WASHINGTON – In stark contrast to 2008, the election of 2010 will be remembered because the results were fueled not by hope, but by anger, frustration, and fear. Working people have lost jobs, homes, and life savings. Young people have delayed college, and older workers are postponing retirements.

Empty and inflammatory rhetoric that derides health reform as “Obamacare” and demonizes leaders as socialists will not right the imbalance in our economy or help working people make ends meet. Our politics must rise to the challenges we face and provide sensible legislative measures that ensure a foundation for secure and stable communities.

When our new Congress convenes in January, will Republican lawmakers continue to obstruct the legislative process—as they have over the last two years—and continue to walk away from their responsibility to help govern? Or will they join with President Obama in an effort to put America back to work?

Working families have been losing ground for three decades. Household income has stagnated.  Productivity is up, but wages are down. Hundreds of thousands of middle class jobs have been shipped overseas. And many of our elected leaders, complicit with Wall Street greed, stood by and let bankers make and break the rules, and when their house of cards collapsed working families paid the price.

All elected leaders should take on their responsibilities to govern and turn immediately to the pressing issues confronting working America with bold ideas, creativity, and solutions. To move forward, our country needs a national agenda that begins with an honest conversation about restoring fairness to our economy, and generating good-paying jobs that keep families secure and America strong.

We need an agenda that, in the short term, provides security for the unemployed with an immediate extension of unemployment benefits.

We need a dispassionate approach to legislation and policies that recognizes that service jobs—retail salesperson is one of the fastest growing jobs in America—are the future of our economy and must become middle class jobs. We need to solve our broken immigration system, which would, if reformed, pump trillions into our economy and raise living standards for workers; create a sustainable energy program, and embark on infrastructure renewal that would put millions of Americans back to work.

American democracy goes beyond an angry vote at the ballot box. Working families care about building a better America because a better America means a better future for our kids and grandkids. The UFCW pledges to work with all elected leaders who are committed to restoring balance in our economy and rebuilding our middle class.

>Parade Marchers Display Diversity, Strength of America’s Workers

>For Maria Somma, it was a dream come true. The native of Vietnam and naturalized citizen was one of the 265 union members who braved freezing temperatures today to join representatives from across the country and our armed forces to participate in the official inaugural parade for President Obama. The contingent of union members taking part in the parade included members from the AFL-CIO, Change to Win and the National Education Association.

With 15 union members riding a union-made float and 250 marchers alongside, the workers’ contingent was one of the largest groups in the parade. This is the first time in recent memory that workers have participated in the parade.

Somma, who lives in Pittsburgh and is a member of the United Steelworkers, rode the float representing the AFL-CIO constituency group Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA). She says labor’s participation shows the power of the American Dream for all people.

It’s very exciting to be welcoming a person of color into the White House and to be a part of history. Even if it was minus 20, I would be glad to be here. This is an incredible achievement for this country. For Barack Obama to come from his background and rise to the top is not the typical American story. His inauguration is part of the transition of this nation to fully embrace all its citizens.

Marching with a banner, “America’s Workers: United for Change,” participants also carried flags that represented the issues most important to working families: an “Economy That Works for All,” “Great Public Schools,” “Good Jobs Green Jobs” and “Health Care for All.” The overall theme of the labor float is “Honoring America’s Workers.”

- James Parks, AFL-CIO Now blog; click here for his complete report.

>Hundreds Of Union Members To March In 56th Inaugural Parade

>Faces of Labor

From Change To Win In Washington, DC:

January 20th is going to be an historic day!

Oh, you think, I knew that. That’s when we’re going to be swearing in our first-ever African-American President of the United States!

That’s true, but it’s not the only reason why Tuesday will be historic.

What else is happening? For the first time in living memory, members of America’s labor movement have been asked to march in the official Inaugural Parade, that’s what.

Representing America’s workers will be 265 union members from across Change to Win, the AFL-CIO, and the National Education Association (NEA), along with a 17-by-24 foot float built entirely by union workers and driven by a Teamster. The float will feature the “faces of labor” — a tribute every hard-working man and woman who gets up every day and goes to work. (In the photo above, you can see the faces as they wait to be mounted on the float.)

January 20 will be the start of a new era for American workers, so it’s fitting that hundreds of them will be marching alongside President-Elect Barack Obama to mark the occasion!