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Commentary :: Human Rights
BTL:Labor Must put Pressure on Obama to Fight for Nation's Workers
11 Sep 2010
BETWEEN THE LINES Syndicated Radio Newsmagazine
Labor Must put Pressure on Obama to Fight for Nation's Workers

Interview with labor and racial justice activist Bill Fletcher Jr., conducted by Scott Harris

The state of working America was grim as the nation commemorated Labor Day 2010. Unemployment stands at 9.6 percent, while housing foreclosures remain at record levels. Private sector job creation is moving in a positive direction, but remains weak. Last year's injection of $814 billion of stimulus funds into the economy may have helped prevent a full blown depression, but has not yet produced a recovery. As workers struggle to make ends meet in this bad economy, labor unions continue to lose membership, now down to 12.1 percent of the workforce.

President Obama, speaking at a Labor Day event in Milwaukee, attacked Republicans for policies which he says caused the worst economic decline since the Great Depression, while proposing a new $50 billion jobs bill to rebuild roads, railways and runways. The President is also expected to propose an increase and permanent extension of the research and development tax credit, and permit companies to write-off 100 percent of their new investments in plant and equipment through 2011.

Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with longtime labor and racial justice activist Bill Fletcher, who is the past president of TransAfrica Forum, former vice president for International Trade Union development at the AFL-CIO and founder of the Black Radical Congress. Fletcher talks about the current state of the U.S. labor movement, disappointments in the Obama administration's agenda -- and the dangers and opportunities in this November's congressional mid-term election.

Bill Fletcher Jr. is co-author of "Solidarity Divided, The Crisis in Organized Labor and A New Path Toward Social Justice," Read his articles at, where he serves as a member of the editorial board, or at

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"Between The Lines" is a half-hour syndicated radio news magazine that each week features a summary of under-reported news stories and interviews with activists and journalists who offer progressive perspectives on international, national and regional political, economic and social issues. Because "Between The Lines" is independent of all publications, media networks or political parties, we are able to bring a diversity of voices to the airwaves generally ignored or marginalized by the major media. For more information on this week's topics and to check out our text archive listing topics and guests presented in previous programs visit:
"Between the Lines," WPKN 89.5 FM's weekly radio news magazine can be heard Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m. ET; Wednesdays at 8 a.m. ET and Saturdays at 2 p.m. ET (Wednesday's show airs at 7:30 a.m. ET during fundraising months of April and October).
For an email subscription of "Between The Lines Weekly Summary" which features a RealAudio link to the week's program for Between The Lines, send an email to btlsummary-subscribe (at)
For an email subscription of "Between The Lines Q&A" which features a RealAudio link and weekly transcript to one of the interviews featured on Between The Lines, send an email to btlqa-subscribe (at)
Between the Lines
c/o Squeaky Wheel Productions
P.O. Box 110176
Trumbull, CT 06611
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