AFL-CIO’s Shuler Says Priority Is Overhaul of U.S. Labor Laws
(Bloomberg) -- The newly appointed head of the largest U.S. labor federation said the group’s top priority is an overhaul of the country’s labor laws, along with a grass-roots campaign, to help increase union membership.
“Working people have had enough -- they know the labor laws are broken in this country,” Liz Shuler, who took over as president of the AFL-CIO earlier Friday, said in an interview on Bloomberg TV’s “Balance of Power” With David Westin. “We need the PRO Act to make sure that people who want to come together and have a voice on the job and fight for better wages and better benefits and a decent living to support their families can do it without fear.”
The so-called PRO Act is a legislative proposal that would make it easier for Americans to form unions. The bill has passed the House but faces an unlikely path in the Senate, where it would need Republican votes to break a filibuster. Shuler also said “we need to change the rules of the filibuster.”
Labor advocates also have pressed for including pro-union measures in a separate $3.5 trillion spending and tax package that Democrats hope to enact later this year.
Shuler is the first woman to lead the AFL-CIO, and previously held the No. 2 spot as its chief finance officer. She took over from Richard Trumka, who died from an apparent heart attack Aug. 5. Shuler rose in the male-dominated International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers before Trumka selected her as his running mate in 2009.
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