Text of AFL-CIO President John Sweeney's Address to the Democratic National Convention
Thursday, July 29, 2004; 8:47 PM
The following is a transcript of the remarks by AFL-CIO President John Sweeney to the Democratic National Convention at the FleetCenter in Boston, Mass.
SWEENEY: My fellow delegates, allow me to introduce Jerry Nowadsky, Maricella Garcia and Stephen White.
Jerry is a machinist from Iowa.
Jerry's job in a printing plant was shipped to China.
SWEENEY: Now he works in a grocery store for half the wages and no benefits.
Maricella comes from Arkansas. She served in the Marine Corps...
... which later helped pay her way through college. But even with a bachelor's degree in accounting, she can't find a permanent, full-time job.
Stephen lives in Maryland, where he worked as a line technician. When he tried to form a union to get a voice at work and improve safety standards, Comcast fired him.
SWEENEY: Sadly, Jerry, Maricella and Stephen are not isolated examples. They represent millions of Americans whose dreams have been put on hold for the past four years.
It is time we elected a president who will bring back those dreams.
Today in America, workers' incomes are flat. Good jobs are hard to come by. And it's all but impossible to find one that provides health care, let alone a secure pension.
And when workers try to join together in unions to lift themselves up, too often they are harassed, intimidated -- even fired -- by companies that ignore our laws and trample our American values.
It is against this backdrop of inequality and unfairness that a historic choice has been placed on the doorstep of our democracy.
SWEENEY: It is a choice between an economy that rewards only the wealthy and the largest corporations, or an economy that rewards the people who do the work.
It is a choice between a government that hands our tax dollars to the haves and the Halliburtons, or a government that puts our tax dollars to work for the people who pay them.
It is a choice between a president who ships our jobs overseas and turns his back on the men and women who built the strongest democracy and the most competitive economy in the history of the world, or a president who will fight for America's jobs, who will honor, the decent, hardworking people who are the backbone of this great nation, who will lift our families up and who will lift our country up.
That's our choice, and we chose John Kerry.
John Kerry understands the problems of Jerry and Maricella and Stephen and millions of Americans who ask no more than to be allowed to work hard and care for their families.
SWEENEY: John Kerry is a leader. He knows what courage and patriotism really mean, because he showed to us both in Vietnam.
He proved he shares our values by fighting against corporations, greed and corruption, by working for better schools for our children, for a secure life for every retiree, for affordable health care and good jobs, for all of us.
He demonstrated his commitment to working families by championing the right of workers to form and join unions and co-sponsoring the Employee Free Choice Act, and by raising the bar for all elected officials when he said, very simply: "I don't cross picket lines. I never have."
Brothers and sisters, Jerry Nowadsky, Maricella Garcia and Stephen White deserve the very best our country can offer. To them and the millions of workers who keep our country strong and secure, John Kerry and John Edwards are our very best.
SWEENEY: Together we will fight, together we will win, and together we will make our nation, once again, our very best.
God bless all of you, and God bless America.
© 2004 FDCH E-Media