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The following statement by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka was released today regarding the budget deal announced Tuesday by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.):

It is shocking that Republicans have refused to include an extension of unemployment benefits in today's budget agreement.  At the end of December, federal unemployment benefits will expire for 1.3 million jobless workers.  Lawmakers must not desert these workers by going home for their own holidays without extending the federal unemployment benefits program.

The budget agreement negotiated by Rep. Ryan and Sen. Murray provides temporary relief from sequestration budget cuts over the next two years, but does not represent the clean break from budget austerity that our economy so urgently needs.

We applaud Sen. Murray for resisting Republican demands to cut Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare benefits and food assistance for people with low incomes.

Yet this budget agreement does nothing for the millions of people who remain without work and asks nothing from the people who caused our economic crisis and continue to benefit from economic inequality.

The agreement unfairly demands more sacrifice from federal employees, who had already contributed $114 billion to deficit reduction in the previous three years.  By asking new federal employees to pay more out of pocket for their pensions, the agreement undermines retirement security.

The agreement further undermines retirement security by increasing the fees paid by private firms to the Pension Benefits Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), which will likely be used to justify new rounds of pension dumping by healthy companies.

Meanwhile, at the insistence of Rep. Ryan, the agreement does not demand any sacrifice from the wealthy or from Wall Street.  It is hard to justify demanding further sacrifice from federal employees and private sector workers while continuing costly tax preferences for Wall Street investment managers and companies that send jobs overseas.

The urgent business before us now is fixing what's wrong with our economy. The real problem is that unemployment is too high and wages are too low.  Sequestration makes both these problems worse and needs to be repealed-not replaced with other harmful cuts.  Even that will not be enough, however.  We call on Congress to enact a jobs bill, invest in our future, raise the minimum wage to $10.10, and devote its full attention to restoring full employment and raising wages.


(Dec. 16, 2013) - The following statement by Jeff Johnson, President of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, was issued this morning:


Nobody wants Boeing to produce the 777x and the composite wing in Washington state more than the rank-and-file members and the local leadership of the IAM District Council 751. This is their work. They want to continue doing this work. No one can do it better than they can. Similarly, no one is in a better position to evaluate whether a contract proposal is worthy of being brought before the membership for consideration than the machinists themselves and their elected leaders.

While Governor Jay Inslee and Congressman Rick Larson are certainly entitled to their opinions about Boeing's proposal, putting their opinions in a press statement is absolutely disrespectful to the Machinists and to the labor movement. That they expressed their views so publicly and so supportively of the company's position reveals how little they understand and respect the collective bargaining process and the generations of sacrifice made by machinists to make this company prosperous.

Machinists were forced to take a soul and gut wrenching vote a couple of weeks ago that asked family members to vote against hard-fought-for benefits and values for which past generations of family and neighbors had sacrificed, and to vote against passing these benefits and values to current and future family members and neighbors. Like true and smart working class heroes they could not do this. The machinists stood up bravely and proudly for the middle class. If we expect things to change for the better in this country then more of us need to stand up as well.

Should the Boeing Corporation choose to locate production of the 777x any place other than Washington State, the responsibility and the ultimately the blame for that decision can only be placed with the company's desire to break the community standards that the machinists have sacrificed and collectively bargained for over the decades.