Pelosi comes out swinging for employee free choice

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi came out swinging at a gathering of 3000 trade unionists here yesterday with a passionate call for passage of the Employee Free Choice Act.

Determined to rebuff right wingers trying to use the “torture” issue as a means of derailing congressional and administrative moves to help workers, she told members of the nation’s 13 building and construction unions that she is committed to passing the bill and that President Obama is ready to sign it into law.

Delegates to the 2009 Legislative Conference of the AFL-CIO’s Building and Construction Trades Department rose in sustained applause when Pelosi declared: “Our work in Congress is based on two truths: America’s economy is only as strong as America’s middle class; America’s middle class is only as strong as America’s unions.”

Thousands of union members and leaders also reacted with a thunderous ovation when Labor Secretary Hilda Solis declared: “The Obama administration will work closely with workers and their unions to ensure that the nation’s job safety laws, wage protections and workers’ rights are enforced. You can rest assured, there is a new sheriff in town.”

The unionists are fanning out all over Capitol Hill today to visit members of the House and Senate. They are pressing the lawmakers on the Employee Free Choice Act, the Davis-Bacon Act (the federal prevailing wage law that ensures contractors on state projects don’t exploit workers by paying low wages to win state contracts), health care reform, clean energy, climate change and immigration reform.