On the final day of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO convention, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka energized the delegates with a characteristically fiery speech that focused heavily on raising wages for America’s workers. President Trumka said that raising wages cannot take a back seat to any political party or candidate, saying “Our issues come first now, and they come second.”
It was the beginning of a rousing final day of the 2014 convention. Resolutions were passed which support increasing the minimum wage, fighting income inequality, and fighting for paid sick leave legislation and comprehensive immigration reform. Following the organizing roundtable with President Trumka that began the day, a resolution was passed to recognize and support and UPMC workers organizing with SEIU and the “Make It Our UPMC” campaign.
Representative Gene DiGirolamo (R-Bucks) spoke to the convention, serving since 1995, he has a record of standing with workers and opposing privatization schemes and legislative attacks on workers’ rights. As the Republican Chairman of the House Human Services Committee, has has fought for expanding Medicaid, restoring cuts to county human services programs, and increasing the minimum wage. Following his speech, the delegation approved a motion to endorse the Representative in his reelection this year.
The final guest speaker of the day was House Minority Leader Frank Dermody. He added his voice to the chorus to raise the minimum wage in Pennsylvania, while acknowledging the difficulty in moving such legislation while Republicans control the Governor’s office and both chambers of the State Legislature. Speaking to the Tribune after the Convention, Dermody said “It’s going to be difficult, but what we have to do is get a groundswell of support outside of Harrisburg. The other side is saying that this will cost jobs, and the facts just don’t bear that out.”
The newly reelected officers of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO, President Rick Bloomingdale and Secretary-Treasurer Frank Snyder, would like to thank all of the delegates, guests, volunteers and staff who made this such a successful convention, and another thank you to the fantastic UNION staff at the Wyndham Grand Pittsburgh Downtown for all of their tireless efforts over the past week.