Remarks by AFL-CIO President Richard L. Trumka, Los Angeles Federation of Labor’s Rally Against Prop 32, Los Angeles, California

CALIFORNIA–(ENEWSPF)–September 20, 2012.

Thank you, Maria Elena [Durazo]. 

Let me tell you this pure and simple. The right wing in America is bent on the defeat of working people. And they’ve got a good one this time. It’s tricky, and it’s slippery. And it’s hard to tell what’s true, so I’ll make that clear Prop 32 is wrong. It’s deceitful. And we’re going to throw it into the dumpster where it belongs. 

If California doesn’t understand how bad it is, and if this measure passes the voters, it will silence the voice of working people in California. 

Last week, we learned that the Koch Brothers have started to pour money into California — $4 million.  That’s just a start!  These are the same right-wing billionaires who tried to kill collective bargaining in Ohio, Wisconsin and Indiana. 

Without the voice of working people, politics don’t work. Not for working people, and not for America. And that’s why we use our unions to balance the power of corporations. To keep democracy strong. To keep our nation in balance. 

And, brothers and sisters, Prop 32 would throw California and America out of balance. 

Let me tell you something else: The West Coast is a beacon of unionism. You’re breaking ground here in California. It’s inspiring. You’re lifting working people up. And I’m proud of the work you’re doing. You’re leading the way for the American labor movement, and I commend you for it. 

But if Prop 32 passes, all that will be in danger. 

California voters rejected this idea twice before. California voters want you in the political process. 

This new trick is nothing but a trick. 

And you know how to expose it for the lie it is. 

It’s up to you. It’s up to us, to erect the firewall here in California, so working families can keep our voice in our politics. That’s what’s on the line. 

The stakes are huge.  

But let me tell you something. I can’t think of a time that I’d rather be a leader in the American labor movement, more than right now, and I can’t think of anyone I’d rather be in our movement with, than with all of you. This is our moment. 

Our road will be steep. The fight will be tough. We’re going to see an anti-union ad blitz that’ll blanket this state, but we’ll stay focused — knocking on doors, running our program, with Labor-to-Neighbor and phone banks, worksite leafleting. 

I know we’re going to get to the other side, and beat back Prop 32, and on Nov. 6, we’re going to be stronger, and America will be stronger and better off, because California will show you cannot just take away the voice of workers, you cannot silence working people. 

Brothers and sisters, I want to hear you shout! 

Are you ready to stop this anti-worker agenda? 

Are you ready to turn back Prop 32? 

Are you ready to win? 

For California. For every working family in America? 

Sisters and brothers, we believe in the voice of working families. We believe in the American Dream. And we’ll take that dream back for the working people who wake America up every morning, put it to bed at night, fix it when it’s broke and answer when it calls. We’ll work for it. We’ll stand for it. We’ll fight for it. 

Together. To tell the truth to California. To strengthen our voices and lift each other up, and we won’t give up or back up and we will never, ever back down! Thank you!