Union leader Trumka's bleak view under a Republican-led House

Richard Trumka, AFL-CIO president, predicts that Democrats will defy conventional wisdom and keep control of the Senate and House in November. But if Republicans take over even just the House, 'any chance of progress will be ended,' says the union leader.

By , Staff writer

Democrats will defy convention wisdom and keep control of both the Senate and House in November’s midterm elections, predicts Richard Trumka, America’s top labor union leader.

But if he is wrong and Republicans win control just of the House, “that means that any chance of progress will be ended,” despite the fact Barack Obama is still in the White House, says Mr. Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO.

Speaking at a Monitor-sponsored breakfast for reporters Thursday about the GOP’s chances, Trumka argued, “I think they get control of neither body.” His view of the outcome is at odds with several nonpartisan forecasters who see Republicans having very good odds of taking back the House and adding at least a handful of seats to their margin in the Senate.

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To keep the conventional wisdom from proving to be correct, Trumka said, the AFL-CIO would be active in 400 races this fall.

“I think it makes a significant difference” if Republicans win control of the House, he said. "I think we will go back to where corporate America and Wall Street ran wild. They will do everything they can to continue the policies of the last 30 years. You will see more tax cuts for the rich. That is their strategy. It is to shrink the federal government by bleeding it to death. You will see more of that. They will come after workers. They will come after us, the labor movement.”

Having a Democrat in the White House will provide some protection to unions on the issues they care about. So what did he mean by saying any chance of progress will end if Democrats lose the House?

“You won’t get health and safety laws passed even though miners will continue to be killed or refinery workers will get killed on the job. You won’t see constructive legislation, you won’t see extensions of unemployment, you won’t see job creation,” Trumka said with fervor. He added this prediction: “You will see tax-cut bills for the very rich. And you will see [the] Social Security age [for retiring with full benefits] go up and the benefits go down.”

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