August 26th, 2010
09:47 AM ET
8 years ago

TRENDING: Union president slams Palin on her home turf

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka is expected to blast Sarah Palin in a speech set to be delivered Thursday in Anchorage, Alaska.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka is expected to blast Sarah Palin in a speech set to be delivered Thursday in Anchorage, Alaska.

(CNN) - The president of the AFL-CIO will lambaste Sarah Palin on her home turf Thursday and is set to call the former Alaska governor a "crazy magnet that's pulling people to the right."

"She used to have a job, your governor. You knew her–or thought you did, I know I thought I did," AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka will say during a speech in Anchorage according to his prepared remarks. "She seemed like a decent person, an outdoorswoman. Her husband's a steelworker. She seemed to take some OK stands for working families."

"And then things got weird. After she tied herself to John McCain and they lost, she blew off Alaska. I guess she figured she'd trade up-shoot for a national stage. Alaska was too far from the FOX TV spotlight," Trumka will say. "I bet most of you, on a clear day, can see her hypocrisy from your house."

Read Trumka's full remarks after the jump:

Trumka is in Anchorage for a convention for AFL-CIO families. The focus of his speech is jobs and the economy, but several minutes of the speech is devoted to blasting the former vice-presidential nominee.

Trumka will also mention a term Palin has coined to describe female candidates that she endorses.

"The Mama Grizzlies, Sarah Palin says, just sense when something's not right," Trumka will say. "Well, I wonder if those Mama Grizzlies can sense something's just not right with her."

Trumka's remarks (Palin section bolded):

August 26, 2010

Thank you, Vince [Beltrami], for welcoming me here to be with the men and women of the Alaska AFL-CIO … .

[To Vince] And thank you for giving me the opportunity to join you, my brother, here at your convention.

[To delegates] Let me tell you something…. your president is something special ... he tells it like it is, and he fights for the way it should be… always

(Lead applause)

It is an incredible honor to be here with ALL of you—the hardest-working men and women in Alaska ….

And it’s a pleasure to visit a place where so many of our working families are still working, thanks to an economy that’s a lot like your great state—huge and quite a distance from the lower 48.

It’s not pretty down in the Great Recession, in the worst national economy in 75 years… 15 million Americans are out of work. Half of them have been unemployed for longer than six months. And as many as 26 million Americans are under-employed, working any job they can find for a fraction of what they once brought in.

Eight percent unemployment in Alaska is not perfect, either, although I hear that your prognosis looks OK – modest job growth in the year to come.

Yet we’re not out of the woods, because America’s middle class will rise or fall together, and we’re under assault – we have been under assault for 30 years. We’ve been targeted… undercut… our rights eroded… our foundation chipped away…. Even some people we trusted as friends and supported have turned their backs on us...

That’s why it’s so important that we continue to stand together…. We’re stronger together. We can secure our futures together… for ourselves, for our children and grandchildren….

We don’t back down… for anybody… or let anyone stand in our way.

A little while ago some of us went down to the Anchorage Sheraton Hotel…. Ever hear of an outfit out of Dallas, Texas, called Remington Hotel Corporation? …….. I’ve heard of them too. Remington owns and operates about 700 hotels…. A lot of big names and top brands…. Hilton…. Crowne Plaza…. Sheraton.... Remington’s Web site boasts that it – and I quote – “provides property management services that outperform the industry.”

“Outperform.” You know what they mean by that: They scrape that extra few dollars off the hides of the working men and women who clean the rooms and launder the sheets, who staff the desks and cook the food….

Remington’s one of the biggest union-busters around.

Remington’s up to their old tricks here in Anchorage. It’s more of the same…. They’re trying to drive out UNITE-HERE, so they can drive down wages and benefits.

And that’s not right.

So we’re going to stand together until we win for the workers and their families at Anchorage Sheraton, until we show Remington that’s not how things are done in Alaska.

And when we win right here in Anchorage, we’re going to win for every working family in America, because we’re not backing down….

And that’s how we’re going to defend our union way of life together.


And across America, we’re going to rebuild our middle class with a simple, one-word plan called jobs.

Remember John F. Kennedy’s line about the rising tide that lifts all boats? He wasn’t talking about a bubble economy or a Reagan economy. It’s working people—working people—who are the tide.

Good jobs are the tide.

When working people rise, so does our economy.

That’s our goal. And we’ve made real progress in Washington in the last 20 months.

I want to talk for a minute about the Obama administration: Without the Obama recovery plan, we'd be in a full-blown depression.

The Obama administration has already created more jobs — even in this weak recovery — than were created during the entire 8 years of George W. Bush.

Many of our members across the country are working today on bridges, highways and other projects funded by recovery dollars. Let’s not forget the jobs in clean energy and school construction…

… and Obama’s executive action to reverse the Bush ban on PLAs … and to prohibit federal contractors from using funds to block union organizing ….

Let’s not forget the great work by our new Secretary of Labor to stop the misclassification of employees by cut-rate contractors.

That’s a record, a real foundation. It’s something to build on. But it’s not enough. It’s nowhere near enough.

To be frank with you, a lot of us anticipated that Congress would have moved faster. That maybe, by now, we would have seen some serious job growth … major investments to rebuild our crumbling education system, our transportation infrastructure, our rail systems. These are the essential investments we’ve called for to rebuild America.

But let’s be clear about why we haven’t seen more. Most of what we see is Republicans fighting Democrats … and sometimes they’re joined by a few Democrats … and we’re living the fall-out.

Here’s the problem. Every time the Democrats and President Obama have proposed jobs legislation, they’ve been blocked by crass maneuvers from the most politically motivated Republican minority we have ever seen – and I really do mean ever.

Look at Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s voting record. She’s marching too close to her party’s leadership, too far from Alaska.

What is this crazy magnet that’s pulling people to the right? I mean, look at your former governor….

Who is she, anyway?

Sarah Palin?

She used to have a job, your governor…. You knew her…. Or thought you did…. I know I thought I did. She seemed like a decent person, an outdoorswoman. Her husband’s a steelworker. She seemed to take some OK stands for working families.

And then things got weird. After she tied herself to John McCain and they lost, she blew off Alaska. I guess she figured she’d trade up…shoot for a national stage. Alaska was too far from the FOX TV spotlight.

I bet most of you, on a clear day, can see her hypocrisy from your house.

I think Sarah Palin quit so she wouldn’t have to be accountable… so she wouldn’t have a record that could be scrutinized…

Instead, she’s hanging out on cable TV, almost a parody of herself, coming out with conspiracy theories about Obama and his “death panels….” Talking about “the real America.” Talking about building schools in “our neighboring country of Afghanistan.” Writing speech notes to herself on her hands.

Sometimes – about Sarah Palin – you just have to laugh…. But it’s not really funny. In this charged political environment, her kind of talk gets dangerous. “Don’t retreat… reload” may seem clever, the kind of bull you hear all the time, but put it in context. She’s using crosshairs to illustrate targeted legislators. She’s on the wrong side of the line there. She’s getting close to calling for violence. And some of her fans take that stuff seriously. We’ve got legislators in America who have been living with death threats since the health care votes.

And down in Tyler, Texas, she’s talking about—and I quote— “union thugs.” What? Her husband’s a union man. Is she calling him a thug? Sarah Palin ought to know what union men and women are.

Oh, she goes to great pains to talk differently about unions and the working people who belong to them, knowing full well we’re one and the same.

But using the term “union thug.” That’s poisonous. There’s history behind that rhetoric. That’s how bosses and politicians in decades past justified the terrorizing of workers, the murdering of organizers….

To me, it just doesn’t seem OK to go where she’s going…. It sits wrong with me…. The Mama Grizzlies, Sarah Palin says, just sense when something’s not right. Well… I wonder if those Mama Grizzlies can sense something’s just not right with her.

Quite frankly, America works because lots of people contribute lots of ideas—that’s good—even when some of them are just plain wrong. But people need to come to the table in good faith. That’s not Sarah Palin. She’ll go down in history like McCarthy. Palinism will become an ugly word.

Who is this woman, anyway? What happened to her?


I can tell you one thing: There’s no question about who we are. We’re right here. We’re everywhere. We’re working people standing together to rebuild America’s middle class. You don’t get there with a cable career, or with the Party of No.

We’ve got a one-word plan called JOBS!

But we’re not going to get our jobs unless we get the right people in Juneau and the right people in Washington.

You’ve got to get Sen. Murkowski loose from Palin’s crazy magnet. You don’t want her to get that far out, too.

Now, you all have made some important progress in Alaska. You’re 10 and 10 against our opponents in the state senate – so with one critical win, you could change the whole dynamic of the legislature.

So you’ve got to get your members excited. Get them motivated. Get them running your program… Knocking on doors… talking to coworkers… leafleting worksites… turning out the vote…

That’s how Senator Murkowski will get the clear message that it’s time to represent Alaska, she’s got to represent working families again, not just the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Union families have to get lit up about what's at stake in Alaska and in America… and no one under any circumstances can sit this one out....

We need a strong showing everywhere…. A clear call for progress…. And let me tell you why: Because if we win these elections on November 2, it’ll strengthen us to fight on November 3… and the next day… and the day after that… for the jobs we need, for the economy we need.

Nobody’s going to give us anything. And people who want better have to understand: If Alaska and America are going to create new jobs with rising wages, stable benefits and promising futures, we've got to work for it.

If you believe that keeping jobs in this country matters, and in returning America to a country that makes things again, work for it.

If you believe that America must invest in transportation and technology, education and the environment, work for it.

If you believe that Wall Street got us into this mess and now must pay its fair share of the costs to get us out, work for it.

Work for it. Stand for it. Stand together. March together. Fight together. Win together. And don't let anyone—anyone—stand in our way.

Thank you. And God bless you all.

Filed under: AFL-CIO • Alaska • Sarah Palin
soundoff (101 Responses)
  1. New Age Independant

    Hardly a surprise that this blow hard union (take the money from the people) moron doesn't support Palin. His message is just hate. He points to her husband who is union, but realize that unions have a stranglehold on jobs and are stifling the economy.

    August 26, 2010 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  2. I hate unions

    Trumka is nothing but a fat liberal bootlicking nitwit.

    I bet he can see my fridge from his house.

    She left Alaska in great shape and only left office as the Dumocrats and libtards were making garbage up and costing the state money defending the lies.

    All the BOGUS charges were dropped after she left.

    I can see jealousy from my house you fat jerk........

    August 26, 2010 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  3. Steve in Denver

    It doesn't take a clear day to see any neocon's hypocrisy. Just watch the RNC paid posters here.

    August 26, 2010 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  4. Jim in Florida

    Why oh why does Palin scare the political left so much? One wonders.

    The Left is playing into her hands. Publicity – attack her and she gets more popular it seems.

    You Leftists had better be worried about Obama's popularity hitting the tank as well as the economy – and less about Sarah.


    August 26, 2010 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  5. Clwyd

    I love it! The woman belongs on the "funny farm." Her family is a three ring circus! Yet, there are so many nut case extremists out there and to some she makes sense. I wonder about their family and backgrounds of these people if they can find anything of value coming out of this bimbo? I hope they are mostly from Alaska?

    August 26, 2010 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  6. June in Chicago

    One of the most common sense and truthful statements I've read in a long time. It's about time the same people Sarah says she speaks for, call her out for her craziness! Here's to some common-sense, finally!!

    August 26, 2010 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  7. Rick CT

    Trumka is the poster boy for everything that's wrong with Unions. He say Obama's created more jobs in 19 months than Bush did in 8 years. What's he smoking? 4 million jobs have been lost since Obama took office.

    But of course, in the legislation to overcome the Supreme Court ruling, Obama wants to exempt Trumka, his union and their buddies from the political donation requirements of the bill. But anyone with a brain can see through this scam.

    Trumka should stay in Alaska permanently and Obama should devote full-time to practicing for the Senior Tour. They way, neither can do more harm than they already have.

    August 26, 2010 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  8. allen

    As much as I can't stand Sarah Palin the unions are so much worse. These people claim to be laborers but the only thing they ever actually work at is whining to get out of working. Unions are destroying our schools as well as the rest of our nation.

    August 26, 2010 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  9. Bill from GA

    It's about time the Unions stand up to the right-wing nutjobs. Union people had a lot to do with making this country great, still help protect the rights of workers, and are getting a bad rap for standing up to big business. What's wrong with working people getting a decent wage when management is getting rich?

    Unions members used to be considered the salt of the earth Americans, until the Repug smear tactics started.

    August 26, 2010 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  10. AFL CIO is bankrupting America

    Being dissed by a Union leader, especially the President of the AFL CIO is a badge of honon -- The unions are destroying this nation and bankrupting cities, towns, states, and companies. The unions and the Dems have an unholy alliance – the Dems pay off the unions and the unions keep the Dems in office.

    August 26, 2010 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  11. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    I can see her hypocrisy from Moscow.

    August 26, 2010 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  12. Peace

    I have doubts that Sarah might get a credit which she doesn't deserve. How many people really vote for someone because of her endorsement. How sure the media is that its her effect without even being guided by the Exit Poll?

    August 26, 2010 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  13. Me

    "I guess she figured she'd trade up-shoot for a national stage. Alaska was too far from the FOX TV spotlight," Trumka will say. "I bet most of you, on a clear day, can see her hypocrisy from your house."

    now that's funny

    August 26, 2010 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  14. MikeH

    Yeah! Love that one-liner.

    The right-wing wackadoodles like Matt, Rickster, and Doug (all probably the same 30-something dude living in mom's basement) posting here sound like shrieking little girls compared to Trumka.

    Sara Palin = "Crazy Magnet". Gotta love it, go Trumka.

    August 26, 2010 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  15. The unions are the problem

    The unions in the private and the public sector are one of the primary problems adversely affecting the health of the economy. Unions no longers serve a constructive purpose in this new global economy. And when the AFL CIO says standing together makes them atronger – he is referring to the Dems staying in office and the unions robbing robbing sities towns states and corporate America - it is time to toss out this unholy and destructive alliance before the US goes bankrupt

    August 26, 2010 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  16. luv it!

    ouch! give it to that psycho palin Mr. Trumka! I love it

    August 26, 2010 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  17. Steve

    Its guys like this, organizations like this, that will bring this country to its knees. Sarah Palin cares more about this country then the Union Boss hack ever will, he is just the head of a bunch of thugs doing the masters bidding. A puppet to the democratic party puppetiers!

    August 26, 2010 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  18. Alex

    Awesome! This Momma Grizzly definitely senses something wrong with that radical, hateful, devisive woman. And I'm so glad he called her out on her analogies to reloading and taking aim at politicians. Is she just so stupid that she doesn't think some of her radical followers would take that seriously? And now "union thugs"?

    We have nothing to fear but fear itself, and in this case, Palinism is certainly following the cues of McCarthyism.

    August 26, 2010 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  19. Klaxon McFlinderginder

    "Then things got weird." That's true of the entire right-wing. Once you had intelligent people like William F. Buckley jr., now you have hysterical poison tongue nut cases like Palin and Beck and Limbaugh and Coulter and Hannity and on and on.

    August 26, 2010 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  20. America Shrugged

    People don't understand the history of Labor in this country. One only has to study the history of Coal Miners in the mid 1800s to understand what lengths coal companies and railroad magnates used to intimidate workers who were either working towards unionizing or sympathetic to this diverse bunch of mostly immigrant workers. Want to read about thugs? Read about the Pinkerton Detective agency. Read about the history of the Clan. They hated unions, equated them with communism and targeted them as enemies of this country. What makes me sad is that physical labor built this country and use to be respected. Now, it's a " gasp" if you actually perform physical labor in this country and not worth being paid an actual living wage that will afford one a lifestyle to raise a family in decent conditions. We need to produce tangible goods in this country. We can only export so much debt, credit, and natural resources.

    August 26, 2010 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  21. Rick McDaniel

    That's the Dems, talking. Just political maneuvering.

    August 26, 2010 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  22. Hugo

    I suppose you could look at that way however, you must also consider that given the state of our Nation as a result of the bad governance, corrupt politicians, corporate lobbyist payoffs and poor legislative decisions over the last several Administrations, that she may actually see herself as a patriot championing a much needed cause. A cause that is much bigger and more important than the State of Alaska, the resurrection of our Nation. By the way, if you haven't noticed, it appears McCarthy was right just a little ahead of his time, when did you ever think America would adopt Socialism and Marxism ideologies or elect someone for a President that believes and practices them? Our political system has been infiltrated with these progressive liberals (aka: quasi-SocioMarxists) and used Hollyweird through mass media manipulations as their propaganda machine, sound like McCarthy warnings? We were shooting and at war with over the very same concepts 25 years ago in Vietnam...Oh I forgot, this guy IS a Union Socialist...

    August 26, 2010 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  23. Fed Up Regular American

    How many serious people that you know that craves attention, acts and behaves like a teenager that is light years away from acting like an mature adult...?

    John McCain is guilty of giving birth to this extremely despicable person......I'm starting to point my anger towards John McCain for the nightmare that we have come to know as Sarah Palin.....!

    Can John McCain be held on charges of treason and crimes against America......?

    August 26, 2010 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  24. a little sad

    Palin as "mama grizzly'?

    Of the three of her children who have gotten past grade-school age, she has 2 juvenile delinquents and one unwed mother.

    Not exactly a stellar track record as a parent.

    August 26, 2010 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  25. Bob Dog

    There is nothing more relaxing than a nice, warm bath, and reading about someone blasting the circus clown, Sarah Palin.

    Run, Sarah, run!

    August 26, 2010 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
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