Tuesday President Obama met with labor and progressive leaders including reps from MoveOn.org, Center for American Progress, AFL-CIO, AFSCME, National Education Association and Service Employees International Union. Here’s what Leo Gerard of the United Steeleworkers had to say on the Ed Schultz show:
“I’m wearing my shirt tonight and I’m telling our members and the whole world, the steelworkers are ready to go… we’re not going to make the same mistake that we made last time. The last time, we should have been out on the street with the president on the stimulus bill, we should have been out the street with the president on the Affordable Care Act, and we let him down, I think. We sat on our hands. Well, we’re not going to do that this time.
We expect to have the president’s back on the agenda that the voters just declared support for,” said Mary Kay Henry, president of the Service Employees International Union, which spent $75 million in backing Mr. Obama and various Democrats this year. “The president has always said he needs a movement behind his mandate.
Mr. Obama has talked of going beyond the Beltway to stir up support for his plans, including increasing taxes on households with incomes of more than $250,000. Union leaders have made clear that they are happy to turn out the troops to — in a tactic from the Franklin D. Roosevelt era — “make him do it.” Union members held rallies in 100 communities last Thursday as a first step in promoting the president’s budget plan.
Bill Samuel, the A.F.L.-C.I.O.’s legislative director, said, “We agree with the president that tax rates for the wealthiest 2 percent need to go up to provide revenues to invest in jobs, education, infrastructure and training.”