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Doug Jones addresses Alabama AFL-CIO

U.S. Sen. Doug Jones told members of the Alabama AFL-CIO, “You have a friend in the United States Senate.”

The Alabama AFL-CIO was holding their biennial convention in Montgomery at the Embassy Suites Hotel and Conference Center.

“We need to support the people who support us,” Alabama AFL-CIO President Bren Riley said. “He does not vote with us all the ti8me; but do you think that Roy Moore would have voted with us at all?”

Jones said that he was elected in a special election, “And it was special to me.”

“I want to thank you first and foremost for the work that you are doing for all the working men and women,” Jones said.

Jones said that serving in the Senate, “Is the honor of a lifetime.”

“I worked in the steel mill one summer in college,” Jones said. “Man that was a tough job.”

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Jones said that his dad stayed there until 1980.

“Grandad died on the floor of the tin mill of a heart attack at age 60,” Jones said. My other grandfather was a union organizer and turned out the lights out on the Dulcina mine when it closed.

“You have a friend in the United States Senate for the first time since 1996 when my old boss Howell Heflin retired,” Jones told the union members.

Jones said that the first American union was started by shoemakers in Boston three and a half centuries ago to set a quality standard of product and to set a standard for quality of life.

Jones talked about protecting pensions.

“After a lifetime of hard work you deserve to retire with dignity,” Sen. Jones said. Pension plans are close to failing. “It is unacceptable to me.”

Jones said that the Butch Lewis Act was the, “First bill I cosponsored when I started my work in the United States Senate.”

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Jones said that the bill to protect pension plans was blocked again; but promised, “We will get it done at some point.”

“If Congress can bail out Wall Street and can bail out farmer who don’t even want bailout, but were forced to take one because of the loss of markets; we can damn sure bail out our pension funds so that our workers can retire with dignity.”

Jones said that Alabama is the tenth most vulnerable state to losing jobs to automation and that he was cosponsoring a bill with Dick Durbin to deal with the automation threat.

Jones said of the Republican candidates for Senate: “Their only real attribute is their support for Donald Trump. They have Donald Trump’s back. You need a Senator who has your back.”

I am not trying to tell you not to support Donald Trump; “But the fact of the matter is that his administration has systematically supported employers over workers,” Jones said.

“The number of workplace safety inspectors have fallen to lowest level in the half century of the agency’s (OSHA) existence. He cancelled a very modest pay increase of 2.1percent for federal workers,” he has appointed anti-labor members to the National Labor Relations Board, supported right to work laws across the country, and taken a sledgehammer to rules preventing exposure to chemicals.

“The Administration is sending the message that you are on your own,” Jones said. “You are not on your own as long as I am in the Senate.”

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Riley presented Jones with a plaque,

Reporters asked Jones about his upcoming automation legislation.

“We need to make sure that the people who might be displaced get the training that they need,” Jones said.

Reporters also asked Jones about tweets over the weekend from Alabama Democratic Conference Chair Joe Reed suggesting that Jones will not have Black support in the general election and will lose next year.

“This is not about me and it is not about Joe Reed it is about the future of the Alabama Democratic Party,” Jones said. “For a long time the leadership of the Alabama Democratic party has been leading us on a death spiral.”

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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