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AFL-CIO chief rallies labor delegates, takes aim at Romney’s Bain record

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Romney’s time at Bain Capital has been a frequent target for Democrats and their allies.

Trumka said Romney was an outsourcer of American jobs.

“Mitt Romney even outsources his bank accounts,” Trumka said to laughs.

Like many in labor, the AFL-CIO has endorsed President Obama for reelection. Unions will be a key ally for Democrats this fall as they help turn out the vote in battleground states across the country.

“I don’t want anyone to forget what the president has done,” Trumka said, citing the federal bailout of the auto industry and Wall Street reform, among other policies from the Obama administration.

Nevertheless, labor has had a decreased presence at the Democratic convention this year. The convention is hosted by right-to-work North Carolina, and that choice has upset many unions who have kept their distance from the event.

Trumka said North Carolina is a place where labor needs to grow. He stressed that union members need to talk to their friends and neighbors to get out the vote for their chosen candidates.

The leader of the nation’s largest labor federation also said unions need to build an independent labor movement and after Election Day hold elected officials accountable for their policies.

“We are not here to support leaders just because they have a ‘D’ after their name,” Trumka said. “Next term after we elect these people, it’s even going to be more incumbent upon us to fight for those jobs and fight for what we believe in.”

Union leaders also encouraged labor delegates to lobby their own state delegations.

They told delegates to take orange cards explaining the benefits of organized labor and give them to their fellow delegates. Further, union leaders asked delegates to gather signatures for a “second bill of rights,” which espouses support for worker-friendly policies, including “the right to full employment and a living wage” and “the right to a voice at work.”

“Talk to your fellow delegates. Let them know what unions do and who we are,” Trumka said.