Barack: I'll end secret-ballot union elections

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Dems feature union-collectivist agenda in 2008

Sen. Barack Obama took part in a nationwide conference call with union members this afternoon, and he’s ready to work with the union movement to win this fall and turn around America.

More than 2,500 union leaders, activists and members across the country got a chance to hear Obama talk about the challenges facing the country, and the values and principles that inspire his campaign.
Everywhere I go I hear the same story. Wages are falling, good jobs are disappearing, families are losing their homes and prices on everything from fuel to food are going up and up.
Obama reflected on his experience as a church-based community organizer, working in neighborhoods crippled by closing steel mills. Working with unions, churches, and local government, he fought for job training programs to help turn those neighborhoods around. That’s the fight he wants to continue in the White House.
The fundamental truth at the heart of this country, and the heart of the labor movement, is that we have mutual obligations in this country. We rise and fall together
Obama contrasted this message with the ideology at the heart of the Bush agenda, which benefits very few and leaves working families behind.
They call it the ownership society, but what it really means is, “you’re on your own.”
Those left on their own include workers who’ve seen their jobs shipped away, parents who can’t afford health care coverage for their children and millions of us struggling in face of stagnant wages and rising prices. Obama pledged to put an end to the Bush agenda and work with unions to fight for policies that improve workers’ lives.
If I have the honor of serving as your president, I will be a champion for working families.
Passing the Employee Free Choice Act is an essential part of building a strong, worker-friendly economy, Obama said, and promised to sign it if elected. He also pledged to fight for fair trade policies, and to stop rewarding companies that send jobs overseas. By investing in infrastructure and building a new energy economy, Obama said, we can create good jobs—including up to 5 million new green jobs.
We’ll create ripple effects through the economy, and put people back to work.
Obama also pointed to fixing our public education system, making college affordable and protecting Social Security as top priorities. He pledged to create a Department of Labor and a National Labor Relations Board that act on behalf of workers.

As a community organizer, state senator and U.S. senator, Obama has seen that union political mobilization is important and effective. He said that union outreach, through phone banks, mail, worksite visits and local union mail, is going to be essential to get union members engaged and energized. Obama spoke directly to the local union leaders on the call in noting the importance of union political mobilization.
Change doesn’t happen from the top down, it happens from the bottom up…People trust their union and local union leaders, because they work alongside you. They elect you. It means more than any other phone call, more than any other piece of political mail.
Obama knows he needs the support and enthusiasm of union members to win this fall, and he’s pledged to fight for working families and for the needs and priorities of working people.
We need to make sure we aren’t afraid to say we need a stronger labor movement in this country.
Obama said that the values that inspire the labor movement are those that drive his campaign. AFL-CIO President John Sweeney says Obama is a candidate who is on the side of workers and will fight for them as president. Speaking on the call today, Sweeney said:
We all know he’s a great speaker, but what impresses me just as much is what a great listener he is. He has a deep understanding of the problems facing working families in our country.

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