Business Leader Stresses Cooperation In AFL-CIO Speech

Unlike many feuding rivals, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO at least are talking with each other. Chamber President Thomas J. Donohue on Feb. 19 became the first Chamber leader in history to speak to the AFL-CIO when he addressed the giant labor organization's executive council in Miami Beach. His speech reciprocated a speech by AFL-CIO President John Sweeney to the Chamber's board last November. Acknowledging that on most issues the two groups will continue to spar, Donohue nevertheless stressed that "more than ever, the interests of employers and employees are bound together." He proposed that the two organizations join forces to "challenge overzealous EPA regulators. Their ideas on global warming, new clean air regulations, and so-called environmental justice rules would ship good paying jobs right out of this country." He also suggested the groups could agree on the need to improve transportation, restore national defense, and expand job-training programs. But he criticized labor's protectionist stance on trade, its resistance to more flexible workplace rules for employees, and its support of higher federal taxes and spending.

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