AFL-CIO's Trumka puts Democrats on notice

The AFL-CIO—the largest union in the United States—is holding its convention in St. Louis, Mo., this week, and its president, Richard Trumka, has been reelected by its members.

Continue Reading Below

Trumka, who won his third four-year term, is putting the Democratic Party on notice, saying the nation's largest labor federation cannot count on its support in a blanket fashion anymore.

“We’ll find hope and opportunity for working people, not inside the major political parties, but inside our movement and our communities,” the AFL-CIO president said Tuesday on Twitter.

President Donald Trump and Trumka have found common ground on issues such as renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), building the Keystone XL pipeline and infrastructure spending.

However, Trumka has been critical of the president, accusing him of breaking promises to workers. He said Trump's actions on subjects, including worker-safety standards, have eroded the commander-in-chief’s support among union members.

“We give [workers] the facts,” Trumka said at the opening of the AFL-CIO convention on Sunday. “Here’s what he’s promised. Here’s what he’s done. And his promises left people in the lurch.”

Trumka addressed the union’s members on Tuesday and explained which political party the union will support in the future.

“I don’t care if you’re Democrat or Republican or anything in between, if you do right by us, we’ll do right by you,” he said.

Despite backing Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election, Trumka acknowledged that President Trump won over union voters. He has said Trump’s support among AFL-CIO members rose three percentage points compared to Mitt Romney’s results in 2012. Clinton trailed former President Barack Obama by 10 points.