Democratic candidate Barack Obama says he’ll be labor’s friend in the White House if he’s elected president.
Obama was among a handful of Democratic presidential hopefuls who spoke at this weekend’s convention of the state’s largest labor union, AFSCME, which represents government workers.
"You and I believe in certain things, certain rights that go along with your labor," Obama said. "You believe, as I believe, (in) organization without intimidation. You believe in bargaining in good faith, a safe work place, making it the law of the land that, a majority of workers in an organization, if they want a union, then they should get a union."
Obama said President Bush was leading the most "anti-worker" administration in decades.
"It’s not the Department of Management. It’s the Department of Labor and it’s time that we won that fight, too," Obama said. "And under an Obama presidency we will win that fight because we will have folks in there who believe in labor and aren’t going to tilt the playing field on the other side."
Obama walked a picket line in Chicago last week at a hotel where workers are trying to organize a union and he promised to return to the picket line in the future — even if he’s president.
"When I talk about hope, when I talk about change, when I talk about holding up America to its values and its ideals of opportunity and equality, this is not just rhetoric of a campaign for me. These are the causes of my life and they are the causes I will fight for every single day that I’m your president in the White House," Obama said. "That you can take to the bank."
Four other candidates — John Edwards, Hillary Clinton, Bill Richardson and Chris Dodd — all spoke to AFSCME’s state convention as well.
You can listen to Obama’s speech by clicking on the audio link below.