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At AFL-CIO Conference, Mass. Gov. Deval Patrick Seeks Union Support, Faith in Obama

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and Speaker Robert DeLeo rallied union leaders last weekend at the state AFL-CIO’s annual convention asking attendants to “be big” when it came to supporting President Obama’s Jobs Act. Both leaders have had semi-strained ties with unions of late, stemming from their support of health insurance and pension reforms. Newly elected AFL-CIO president, State Senator Steven Tolman, acknowledged past differences but told members, “we can find common ground.”

Patrick also called for support of Massachusetts’ Democratic Senate candidate, most likely to be Elizabeth Warren, as well as the President and his jobs act. Patrick used the occasion to challenge union members to be true to the labor movement’s history of supporting reforms that have improved the American way of life such as ending child labor and creating the weekend and minimum wage. According to The Patriot-Ledger, Patrick also added,

“Thanks to too much political bullying and too little political courage, the American dream is up for grabs right now. We need a Congress, including a new Democratic Massachusetts Senator, which will work with the president to lift this country up instead of asking him to save the country with one hand tied behind his back. Be big. Be big,” Patrick said, earning one of several standing ovations.

Patrick urged labor leaders to recruit new Americans who have been “ostracized and feel scapegoated,” as well as Republicans who “tune you and me out and then go vote for the people who got us in this mess in the first place.”

“And for god’s sake, go to work for President Obama,” Patrick said.”

Patrick also highlighted what he believed to be the top pro-labor accomplishments of his tenure as Governor including a Project Labor Agreement with the University of Massachusetts Boston, a card-check bill, and cracking down on the misclassification of workers.


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