AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on The Real Economy

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In this Moyers Moment from a 2010 episode of Bill Moyers Journal, AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka says there are two economies in this country: a financial economy that passes around complex instruments to create capital, and a real economy that actually makes things. Once an enabler of the real economy, the financial economy now overshadows it, to the detriment of the American worker, says Trumka.

Watch the full conversation between Bill Moyers and Richard Trumka.

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  • Anonymous

    “But the labor was also part of a living, breathing human being.  Those who gave earnest thought to the matter saw that the labor problem was not only an economic, but also a moral, a human problem.”

    Experience Life among the Ordinary and read more about The “Unnatural Alliance” at

    http://lifeamongtheordinary.blogspot.com/2012/07/unnatural-alliance-part-two.html

  • JonThomas

    The internet, along with the advances in electronic trading has made it popular to stay home and day trade.

    If you don’t have ethics for who(m?) you do business with, then there’s less actual work and, if you don’t make mistakes, there can be high profits.

    Who cares about everyone else, or the state of the world economy…as long as you got yours…

    A nation of working poor? Serfdom? Slavery? Oh well…wanna go out to eat?

  • Bluegrassbloke

    Just as universal healthcare has been smeared, so has certain unions. Notice they only go after ‘Big Labor’. Just vague enough to scare. Notice too, how ‘they’ don’t touch the professional organizations? A union by another name. Try dentists. The AMA! etc. they all bargain for fees.

  • Pselgee

    Obama should run on the platform:
    We must bring industry home.  Tax breaks must go to those who create jobs at home.
    We must repair social security.  We must set rules and follow them.
    Pay out must depend on what people put into social security, and the fund must be secure from raids by any other interest.
    We have passed a health care bill.  We must go through it and repair small sections.  We must not repeal what Americans so desperately need.  While we bargained away the Public Option to get republican support which we never received, we must now include it.
    The financial institution has proven that it must be regulated.  Financial regulations, removed when the republicans were in control, must now be restored.
    Oil production peaked in the ’80′s, but US oil consumption has continued to rise.  Alternative power and fuel must be encouraged.
    Our country must be secured here at home.  Our boarders must be secured from terrorist, drugs, and weapons.  Companies like Colt whose production of weapons where 80% ends up in the hands of the drug cartels and used against our own people, need to find another product to manufacture.

  • Pselgee

    Obama should run on the platform:We must bring industry home. Tax breaks must go to those who create jobs at home.We must repair social security. We must set rules and follow them.Pay out must depend on what people put into social security, and the fund must be secure from raids by any other interest.We have passed a health care bill. We must go through it and repair small sections. We must not repeal what Americans so desperately need. While we bargained away the Public Option to get republican support which we never received, we must now include it.The financial institution has proven that it must be regulated. Financial regulations, removed when the republicans were in control, must now be restored.Oil production peaked in the ’80′s, but US oil consumption has continued to rise. Alternative power and fuel must be encouraged.Our country must be secured here at home. Our boarders must be secured from terrorist, drugs, and weapons. Companies like Colt whose production of weapons where 80% ends up in the hands of the drug cartels and used against our own people, need to find another product to manufacture.
    We must take insure that illegal bribes do not influence legislation.  The Congress no longer represents the people who elected them, they represent the large corporations that fund their elections.  This must be changed.
    In order to take our country back, people must VOTE DEMOCRATIC.  The last 4 years republicans have voted against everything to make a point.  The point?  If legislation is to happen, Obama needs more serious professionals in Congress who are ready to do their best for our country.

  • BSMeterMaid

    The union workers have been let down on so many levels–and definately by the union bosses. Why haven’t the union dues gone to buy up companies and form co-ops for the workers, instead of having the unions be the support of corrupt corporations? Would the union Presidents still be able to earn ther quarter of a million dollar salary, while the workers salaries have hardly gone up since the 1980′s.
    The system has to change, it this guy does not look like the person to do it.

  • Sylvia hampton

    Trumka is correct, of course. But it is not just manufacturing jobs that need collective bargaining. Service jobs like nurses, teachers, government workers must be able to maintain a decent living and retirement. I also think workers in the arts must have union support. Union workers are the best group of customers for goods and services that keep our economy going.

  • Shaman175

    Knowing about what’s wrong and doing something about it are two different things.  I am a NYS retiree and former Union Rep. of NYS PEF which is part of the AFL-CIO umbrella.  I have contacted the AFL-CIO on their website explaining how to go about taking their national setup of members and forming another political PARTY called T.A.B. (TAKE AMERICA BACK).  There are lots of members like me willing to run for office if we only had the support you need, which the Union could do.  PEF is  a Union representing professionals of NYS where you have a multitude of lawyers, engineers, scientists, doctors, nurses, clinicans, etc. to choose from who probably would be interested as a second career to champion the cause of middle class America!  So far all has fell on deaf ears.  Until AFL-CIO changes their strategy,  they will continue to get slaughtered by Corporate America and INternational Union Busters!!!  Wake up Trumka, you are a lot better than Sweeney that was so apparently bought off, but at least you speak the right talk.   Actions speak louder than words. The Wisconsin debacle demonstrated how the AFL-CIO failed.

  • Shaman175

    I think you are misinformed.  Just look at NYS – PEF union which represents professionals to see how the Governors (whether Republican or Democrat) are nothing more than servants to the tycoons) have whittled away benefits and pay from the Unions to pay for the financial fraud of Wall St. and Big Business.  Did you just see what they did in Wisconsin?

  • Anonymous

    While I have never belonged to a union, I support and appreciate what their actions have done to provide me with benefits and protections i would otherwise not have had as a salaried employee in a technical field.    The social mobility gains resulting from union efforts have had a real positive impact on the economy as a whole and the loss of unionization is not a good thing.    Doing my MBA independent research on portable pensions – it became clear how important things like defined benefit pensions are so that retirees are effective markets for higher value-added services and products.   When a Ford or GM the latter having been bailed out by we the tax payers – cuts pension benefits it is not because they lack the money – they are sitting on cash – they simply do not realize that retirees are a market for their products as well as others.   It is strictly a beggar thy neighbor mentality.  

    Unions would however do well to realize that they have a major role and responsibility to see to it that their member deliver the work they have contracted to do.   Refusing to aggressively demand that their member do their jobs and not look to the union to protect them from sloppy and/or incompetent work has been very damaging to the union cause.  They should be proactive in getting firms to invest in new productivity adding technology and even help them find and implement it.  working with the firms for retraining where it can be done and (like the Japanese firms – big ones anyway ) arrange to transfer some workers to subcontractors – if they are capable of doing the work to directly support production of critical components.

    Or if all else fails pay for appropriate retraining or even early retirement.   Unions should be out front supporting Social Security, Medicare and the Affordable Care Act.   these, in my opinion, crucial parts of the social safety net are an advantage to everyone in the country and that includes the Corporate “persons”.