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Obama reaches out to unions

U.S. President Barack Obama declared yesterday that modern benefits like paid leave and minimum wage “all bear the union label”

U.S. President Barack Obama declared yesterday that modern benefits like paid leave and minimum wage “all bear the union label” as he appealed to unions to help him win the health care fight in Congress.

Shortly after becoming president, Obama confronted a rapidly deteriorating economy, a clogged credit system, failing or ailing banks and a a shaky stock market. He used his speech during yesterday’s Labour Day holiday to tick off a host of steps his administration has taken to steady the economy, and he made a special pitch for the health-care overhaul he has pushed.

“We have never been this close,” Obama said. “We have never had this broad an agreement on what needs to be done.” He accused vested interests of trying to thwart his attempts to bring health care to all Americans. The United States is the only developed nation that does not have a comprehensive national health-care plan for all its citizens.

Obama came to the presidency in January with almost unprecedented bipartisan popularity and strong backing for plan to make health care accessible to all Americans. But opposition has grown because of conservative attacks and liberal inability to counter them effectively, and the proposed legislation has been languishing in Congress.

For their part, some elements within the labour movement have indicated frustration with Obama, who travelled to Cincinnati to speak to a state AFL-CIO union gathering, because some key items such as legislation making it easier for people to join unions has not progressed in Congress.

 
 
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