The leader of the nation's largest labor federation denounced several top American corporations and the
In a fiery speech to thousands of union members at the
He singled out longtime union targets
Trumka called Wisconsin Gov.
The former mine worker's remarks came on the second day of a convention that he and others have portrayed as a crucial turning point for a shrinking labor movement that now represents just 11% of U.S. workers, down from 35% in the 1950s.
Insisting that the "shrinking" union must adapt or risk losing even more ground, Trumka pushed new rules to expand the group's base.
He successfully lobbied for passage of a resolution that allows the union to form official alliances with progressive groups including the
Another resolution that expands membership to those not covered by a collective-bargaining agreement also passed. "The AFL-CIO hereby invites every worker in the United States to join the labor movement," the resolution read.
Larry Cohen, president of the Communication Workers of America, said the resolution could help reverse some of the losses suffered recently in states such as Wisconsin and Indiana, where collective-bargaining rights were rolled back.
"This is the only way that we know of that's going to turn that around," he said.
Trumka said it's important that like-minded groups come together in the face of growing corporate influence in politics. He denounced the Supreme Court, which in 2010 handed down a decision that allowed unlimited spending by corporations in political elections.
On Sunday, the first day of the convention, Sen.
Warren, who has been touted as a possible 2016 presidential contender, warned that the court could be a path to becoming "a wholly owned subsidiary of big business."
The convention, which drew day laborers from Florida, taxi drivers from New York and union organizers from as far away as Pakistan, Myanmar and South Africa, continues through Wednesday. The program includes a speech Tuesday by Thomas E. Perez, who was sworn in as Labor secretary in July.
President Obama was scheduled to speak live at the convention Monday but canceled to stay in Washington, where he is making the case to
In a taped video address, Obama said he shared labor's commitment to protecting the American dream. He said if he were a worker looking to make his life better, he'd join a union. "I'd want that union looking out for me."