In the wake of last week's elections, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka is urging President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress to embrace their mandate to protect Social Security and Medicare
—and he's making clear that unions will be there every step of the way applying pressure for that to happen the right way. In a Wednesday interview with Salon's Josh Eidelson:
"A pretty clear message came out of that election yesterday," said Trumka: Voters "rejected Romney-Ryan economics," showed "that we should start making the wealthy start pay their fair share," and "rejected the notion that we should bring down the deficit at all costs." In exit polling released by the AFL-CIO Wednesday, "reduce spending on Medicare and Social Security to bring down the budget deficit" drew support from just 18 percent of voters nationwide. [...]
"If any bipartisan deal includes cuts to Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid, or extends the Bush tax cuts for the top 2 percent," Trumka pledged, "we will oppose it." Asked about "chained CPI"—a way to slow Social Security’s growth that Sen. Bernie Sanders has warned could be part of a bipartisan deal—Trumka said, "That is definitely a cut to Social Security benefits."
Trumka suggested that union voters could have provided winning margins for Democrats in Ohio, Wisconsin and Nevada. And he insisted that policy, not politicians, would control the AFL-CIO's actions: "Whenever something’s good for workers, we’ll support it … If it’s bad for workers, it doesn’t matter to us who proposes it. We won’t be on board. We won’t be taken for granted."