WASHINGTON--As President Obama formulates a new jobs creation plan, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said Thursday Obama needs to more than continuing to do "little nibbly things around the end."
"If he puts all his emphasis and focus on job creation," it is one "picture," Trumka said. "And if he continues to do little nibbly things around the end that aren't going to make a difference and aren't going to solve a problem, that will give ...another picture."
Trumka made his comment during a breakfast session with reporters sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor in a lead-up to Labor Day as the national unemployment rate hovers at 9 percent. He also said it remains to be decided whether the AFL-CIO will fully participate in the Democratic National Convention next year in North Carolina. The convention question will heavily weigh on the details of the new Obama jobs package, Trumka said.
At the heart of Trumka's remarks was a concern that Obama--when he unveils his jobs program next month--will be letting Republicans dictate the agenda."Will he commit all his energy to offering bold solutions, or will he continue to work with the Tea Party?"
If Obama only proposes jobs plans the GOP will accept, Trumka said, "they control the agenda."
Obama made a "strategic mistake" in the past months when he co-mingled the crisis over raising the debt ceiling with the ongoing jobless problem. With the House Republicans, fueled by the Tea Party wing, linking the debt ceiling vote to cutting the deficit, Obama "started playing on Republican ground," Trumka said.
The AFL-CIO, traditionally allied with the Democratic Party, is changing strategies, creating its own "Super PAC" political action committee--rather than working with the Democratic Party-- in order to create a permanent entity to organize for elections as well as advocate and hold officials accountable in the off years. The goal is to "create a structure for working people that will be there year round."