Skyline of Richmond, Virginia

John Sweeney speaks in Denver


AFL-CIO President John Sweeney will speak tonight at the Democratic National Convention. Following is the text of his speech as written;

All over America, children like Marcus Lewis are riding their bikes, starting sixth grade and dreaming of breaking Olympic records—or just finding a good job and raising a family. But unless we turn our country around, they’re not going to make it, not even into the middle class.

Marcus’s mom, Annette, is a single mother who worked hard to get her children where they are today. She works full time and is struggling to send her 18-year-old daughter to college. But after the rent and the bills, there’s hardly enough left over for food.

Dan Luevano is an electrician who worked for a construction company for 10 years, six of them without a raise. When he told his boss he’d be voting for a union so he could bargain for a better life, he was fired.

Steve Skvara is a retired steelworker who learned about unfair trade the hard way—when the giant company where he’d worked went bankrupt, cut his pension by a third, and eliminated his family’s health care.

These are good people, strong people. They work hard and believe in their country, their faith and the future. They can’t afford four more years like the last eight. They need change, and that’s why they all support Barack Obama for President of the United States.

They deserve a better America—an America where every worker can count on a good job, where every family has health care, where every senior enjoys a decent retirement.

They deserve an America that works for everyone, where all workers have a free choice to join unions, to collectively bargain, to lift up their communities and our economy and build a better life for their children.

Whatever happened to the promise of a better America? What happened was that the Bush administration—with the support of Senator McCain—broke that promise, undermined our values and turned our economy into a threshing machine for big business.

Brothers and sisters, this is our chance to create much-needed change for young people like Marcus and rebuild this country we love. We can create the better America that Annette, Steve and Dan—and all of us—deserve. A country whose heart is as big as the hearts of its people. A country that lifts up our families here at home and lights up the world with our vision and values.

On behalf of America’s unions, with 28 million voters in union households, we will win for Barack Obama and Joe Biden, and we will create a better America. Thank you and God bless America.

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