In Detroit stop President Obama: I will stand up for collective bargaining - Freep Article

in Detroit, Blog

In perhaps some of his strongest words of support for organized labor, President Barack Obama told a riverfront crowd of thousands in Detroit today that “As long as I’m in the White House, I’m going to stand up for collective bargaining.”

He said organized labor is responsible for the rise of the middle class and the core of the nation’s economy and that legislative battles to curb the rights of organized labor is a threat to the nation as a whole.

“When I hear they’re trying to take collective bargaining away, trying to pass right to work laws, I know it’s not about economics it’s about politics,” he said, prompting a chant from the crowd of “Four more years.”

It’s the second time Obama has been to Detroit on Labor Day, but it was candidate Obama who came in 2008. It was the President who came to the city today, which he said “has been to heck and back,” who stood in front of the Renaissance Center, where General Motors is headquartered to celebrate organized labor and the auto industry that was saved by a federal bailout in 2009.

“We stood by the auto industry and made some tough choices and now the big 3 are turning a profit and hiring new workers. Right here in Detorit and the USA,” he said.

Obama used the stop in Detroit to offer a small preview of his jobs plan, which he plans to reveal in a prime-time address on Thursday.

"I don’t want to give everything away right here, because I want you all to tune in on Thursday," he said.

"We’ve got roads and bridges across this country that need rebuilding," he said. "There is work to be done and there are workers to do it."

Obama used the speech to challenge Congress to support his forthcoming plan.

"Prove you’ll fight just as hard for tax cuts to middle class families as you do for oil companies," he said.

Before Obama’s speech U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis picked up the UAW’s frequently used “fired up, ready to go,” slogan today as she urged union members to provide vocal support to U.S. President Barack Obama, who soon will unveil a new jobs plan.

“It won’t be an easy thing to do,” Solis said. “We know some will fight us and…some will say we can’t afford to invest in our workforce.”

Solis also criticized those who are trying to reduce the salaries, benefits and collective bargaining rights of union members.

“Some politicians say we can’t afford unions right now,” Solis said. “I think they’ve just got it plain wrong. Unions have built Americans middle class they are now and have always been part of the solution, not the problem.”


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