In the aftermath of the Great Depression during which poverty encompassed 60 percent of the senior population, Social Security was a major plank of Roosevelt's "New Deal."
LAS VEGAS - AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka has put lawmakers on notice to stick by Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid or face labor opposition at the polls next year.
"Retirees are sick and tired of being scapegoats for these politicians in Washington. Social Security recipients and pensioners have already been hit hard."
President Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act, providing, for the first time ever, guaranteed income for retirees and creating a system of unemployment benefits.
Before the $85 billion budget cut time bomb explodes, leaders of the nation's unions are hammering out details of a program to prevent job losses and restore the economy for the working-class majority.
The fly-in preceded dozens of rallies and events planned nationwide around the same theme, starting Dec. 1, according to an AFL-CIO website.
The Republican Party's 2012 platform is so radical it would have the government "turn its back on its citizens" and trash every-thing from veterans' health care to food safety inspections, a top union leader says.
"As president, Barack Obama has placed his faith in America's working men and women to lead our country to economic recovery and to our full potential as a nation," Richard Trumka said during the AFL-CIO Executive Council meeting.
The union's slogan is "United we bargain, divided we beg."