Labor Leader Argues for Workers' Interests Over Racism in Explosive Speech


The issue of race in this presidential campaign is one we talk around, or whisper about, or don't discuss publicly at all. Or, as with some McCain supporters, the issue of race is used as an ugly bludgeon in the spirit of Jim Crow.


But AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Richard Trumka is taking the issue head on. Beginning with a recent speech to the United Steelworkers and continuing in other union venues, Trumka directly addresses how working people can, and must, combat the racism of those who say they will not vote for a black man as president. In addressing union leaders, Trumka also speaks to all of America's workers:
There’s not a single good reason for any worker -- especially any union member -- to vote against Barack Obama. There’s only one really bad reason to vote against him: because he’s not white.
A lot of good union people just can’t get past the idea that there’s something wrong with voting for a black man. Well, those of us who know better can’t afford to look the other way.
[There’s] no evil that’s inflicted more pain and more suffering than racism -- and it’s something we in the labor movement have a special responsibility to challenge.
Trumka urges union leaders, and all of us with a stake in the economic policies of the next president, to confront, head on, our inchoate and irrational fear of black Americans:

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