This is a speech made by Richard Trumpka of the AFL-CIO to a group of United Steelworkers. He has many more speeches that we will be sure to show you on the pages of the Hudson Valley Labor Report. Everyone should see them.
Trumpka, like some of our own local labor leaders, speaks bluntly, directly and very effectively about the issues that he covers. Some people have NEVER HEARD ANYONE speak publicly who did not beat around the bush or avoid taking a direct position.
Those poor souls have probably only heard your average politician give a speech.
They are used to listening to a verbal game of "Ring around the Rosie" until the speech is finally over. After that,they are usually left to ponder just what the heck was said. Or what position was the speaker supporting?
The result of "Ring around the Rosie" speeches is fear on the part of the listener to ask that question in order to avoid looking stupid or like they are challenging the speaker.
Most people who hear a speech like this for the first time admire the passion and the directiveness of the delivery. They compare it to what they have heard in the past and quickly realize that there is no comparison. They can understand and digest points that are made in strong, direct terms.
In other words, with no bullshit or backpedaling, the listener can really decide whether they agree or not and it is a refreshing change.
However, some people hear a speech like this from a labor leader and are almost insulted. With the point being driven home so directly and no mistake about what position the speaker is taking, it's almost scary to them. It is shocking. It is so blunt, so strong!
That is usually about the same time that you will hear the comment that labor should change its image.
It's not the image of labor that is scaring them, it's the TRUTH in the words of labor.
And if that is what is really scaring them - that will never change.