Clinton praises AFL-CIO and AFT program to get America working

This week, more than 50 heads of state and 1,200 guests, including President Barack Obama, attended the seventh annual Clinton Global Initiative. Founded in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative brings policymakers, CEOs, leading thinkers, and philanthropists together to solve problems . With the focus of this year’s meeting on creating jobs, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten joined the conference, offering innovative solutions to get America back to work.

Clinton praised a pledge by the AFL-CIO and a coalition chaired by the AFT to invest $10 billion dollars in energy-efficient infrastructure and green job training: “This is a huge deal. This could be done not just in the United States but in every European country, in every wealthy Asian country. This system will work and you get guaranteed savings.”

The coalition of AFT, the AFL-CIO Building and Construction Trades Department,  AFSCME, NEA, the Firefighters, SEIU, and investment funds affiliated with the labor movement, have pledged to reinvest in the economy. The funds come from a number of sources including workers’ pension investments. The jobs platform includes new green building and retro-fitting programs, public-private partnerships, and job training and apprenticeship initiatives.

As AFT President Weingarten noted, “Public employees, unions, investment groups and others want to be part of a renewed America. What we’re talking about today is America’s retirees, and future retirees, helping their country recover economically and invest in projects that might never have gotten off the ground because of budget crises.”

The labor movement’s commitment to reinvesting in America is nothing new. As Michael Wasser pointed out in our March report “Creating Good Jobs for Our Communities,” union pension investments have been instrumental in stimulating the economy, even as government willingness to invest in infrastructure has declined. Development projects funded by workers’ dollars in Prince George’s County, Maryland, and the San Francisco Bay Area have created jobs and filled infrastructure needs for local communities, while returning solid profits for the investors. 

While Washington and Big Business keep their hands in their pockets and play partisan games, America’s workers are ready to work. Our teachers, firefighters, service workers, and public employees are ready to do their part in kick-starting the economy, and they’re willing to put their money where their mouth is.

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This entry was posted on Friday, September 23rd, 2011 at 1:59 pm and is filed under Jobs. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

4 Responses to “Clinton praises AFL-CIO and AFT program to get America working”

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