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. Tracy

    Finally! Someone calling her out and showing what she really is money hungry & a lunatic! LOL

    August 26, 2010 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  2. mrs8s

    I have been able to see her hypocrisy from my house for years now, and I live in Chicago.

    August 26, 2010 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  3. Rob

    I can smell Caribou Barbie from here.

    August 26, 2010 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  4. Bryans

    I am not a fan of Palin but if the AFL-CIO PRESIDENT dislikes her then she must be doing something right. She might need to get some security if she has offended the union.

    August 26, 2010 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  5. Ron in Califonia

    What a jerk...Unions are magnets that pull people to the left....way left. Also, in my view these union bosses are mostly shady charachters.

    August 26, 2010 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  6. tim

    I'll stop him when he's wrong...

    And he isn't wrong.

    If you're listening to uneducated trash you're probably getting bad info.

    Wake up America,,,Palin is VERY bad for you unless you have a TON of money. She's one expensive wench.

    August 26, 2010 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  7. Rightwingevangelicalconservatism is a disease

    He's right. Palin spouts off nonsense that's at times only semi coherent and other times just sound bite that she conjures up without any real context or meaning. When she does talk about an idea it's usually taken from someone else, but without understanding its meaning or impact. For as much as she complains about the media, she throws herself infront of a camera like a bitch in heat.

    August 26, 2010 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  8. Marie MD

    Wow! Somebody has been paying attention to the quitter's rantings. Her husband is an eunuch unless he is bullying someone and infringing on their First Amendment rights.. He found himself a new job . . protector of his feebkle nmibded wife. I am sure she calls him worse than "union thug".
    AK's unemployment has never been low to start with and please don't complain when your gasoline tax is 8 cents and miine in MD is 23 cents.
    Fame, not unwanted just unwarranted happened to her.

    August 26, 2010 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  9. paul

    This gentleman is a bringer of truth, honesty, and compassion. You don't get this in American society everyday. Palin, Beck, Limbaugh, Oreily, Hannity, The tea party, The Republicans, and Some Democrates, can use a huge dose of this, to combat their ignorance, and the poison they spew.

    August 26, 2010 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  10. Jim

    AFL_CIO== an acronym for freeloader magnet !!!!

    August 26, 2010 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  11. Tom

    Trumka is like the employees at CNN. He's an uber, ultra, hard and far left, virulent, militant, hardline, fundamentalist, extremist, America hating leftist fanatic. He's also a union thug, moron and loser.

    August 26, 2010 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  12. Former Republican, but never again!

    Go get her, she's dangerous!

    August 26, 2010 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  13. independent minds want to know

    Of course a union leader is going to be against Palin. After 40 years of running businesses into the ground, union leaders are finally being held accountable by Palin and conservative leaders. There was a time and place for unions, but that has past.

    I'm no Palin follower, but over the last 20 years I've lost respect for the thug tactics of unions such as SEIU. My father was forced into being part of a union and hated it for 35 years.

    Andy Stern is the biggest crook in America... because of union moneys.

    August 26, 2010 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  14. annie s

    This man is a hero for telling the truth about Sarah Palin and her dangerous brand of politics. Sadly, too many Americans can not or will not see that Ms. Palin is intentionally pushing an agenda of hate and fear in order to further her own fame and finances.

    August 26, 2010 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  15. paul

    Don't you just wish all crooked politician's could wake up today, with a good heart, mind, and spirit? To honestly, and truthfully do things in a manner, that benefits all people? You may be saying: It is'nt possible to please everyone. But, I say: If you are doing righteous work, then all will prosper, not just the greedy.

    August 26, 2010 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  16. bernice

    I like you Mr. Trumka..I couldn't have described lunatic palin any better myself..It is such a shame that we have weak-minded Americans that are used by palin..Her day will come soon..She better save all the money she's taking from the poor..What goes around, comes around

    August 26, 2010 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  17. bigdoglv

    This guy has no room to speak of hypocrisy. The unions served their purpose when it was about the workers. Now it is all about power. A bunch of thug wannabes.

    August 26, 2010 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  18. phyllis sanders

    I agree with this statement 100% precent, Sara Palin is a glory grabber, and a money hungry fool.

    peace out.

    August 26, 2010 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  19. Enough is Enough

    I am no fan of Palin but Trumka is crazy if he tkinks more unionization will help anyone but the overpaid union members. Unions destroy jobs by vastly overpaying for in most cases unskilled labor. Nothing sents a job overseas quicker than a union. Look what the greedy unions did for the auto makers. Unions are the reason bad teachers can't be fired. Unions were created to right wrongs in the work place now they are a destructive force to our economy.

    August 26, 2010 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  20. Rickster

    Just another fat, nasty union blow-hard. Unions destroy jobs faster than business can create them but, of course, Barry Obama loves the unions because he has never run anything in his miserable life. This guy, like the rest of the union clowns, needs to shut his pie-hole.

    August 26, 2010 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  21. Robert

    Thank you! Who IS Sarah Palin?

    August 26, 2010 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  22. Debbie from Arizona

    Good for him. He tells it like it is. Sarah Palin has never had any credibility with me, well at least ever since she opened her mouth and sophomoric rhetoric started spewing out. Every time her tweets are reported, it just get more and more juvenile. She's an embarrassment to me as a woman.

    August 26, 2010 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  23. Jay

    Go Rich! Tell Wasilla's village idiot what she needs to hear.

    August 26, 2010 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  24. NoBamaLama

    Haha, Hey AFL-CIO do I smell fear ? You should be afraid, you allready broke your pension fun and The Republicans are coming to finish you off !

    See you in November !!

    August 26, 2010 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  25. Marry

    RICHARD TRUMKA, very well said. I wish the people will listen and think about what you said. It makes sense!

    August 26, 2010 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
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