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Labor leader sees need to 'address' employers who dodge Obamacare

Richard Trumka, head of the AFL-CIO, says Obamacare is largely a positive step. He is concerned about reports that some employers are cutting workers' hours to avoid having to offer health insurance. 

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AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka speaks at the St. Regis Hotel Thursday in Washington, DC.

Michael Bonfigli /The Christian Science Monitor

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Labor leader Richard Trumka is president of the AFL-CIO, a federation of 57 unions. He was the guest at the Aug. 29 Monitor Breakfast.

Some causes for what he says is the 'crisis' in the labor movement:

"I don't think that we kept pace with the changing economy and the change in [the] economic environment and political environment.... The fact that the Supreme Court equates money with free speech ... has allowed corporations to dominate policy and politics in the United States...."

His view of the Affordable Care Act:

"[It] is a major step in the right direction.... We made some mistakes along the way."

Warnings that employers are cutting workers' hours to avoid having to offer health insurance:

"That is obviously something that no one intended ... that is something that needs to be addressed."

Why he prefers Janet Yellen over Lawrence Summers to take over from Ben Bernanke as head of the Federal Reserve Board:

"The head of the Fed has two jobs. One, to fight inflation, and two, to seek full employment.... History would indicate that [Ms. Yellen] is for a much more balanced approach."

Why the AFL's 2014 political plan involves Texas, where union membership is less than half the national rate:

"Minorities are denied right now ... the voice that they should be entitled to.... There needs to be more union people in the state...."


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