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Policy: Labor

AFL-CIO chief urges Obama to be bold on immigration executive action

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Politics,Sean Higgins,Labor unions,Immigration,President,Labor,PennAve,AFL-CIO,Richard Trumka

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka urged President Obama to be aggressive on immigration reform, revealing that labor and business leaders have been meeting with the president about his possible executive action.

"He's gonna do something. I hope it is bold enough to be worthwhile," the union federation leader told reporters Thursday at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor. He said the unions have had "significant meetings" with the White House to strategize on the issue.

The administration also has been holding private meetings with business leaders.

Trumka argued that Obama will be criticized by conservatives no matter what he does, so he might as well go big. He said there was a downside for Obama in not being bold.

"If he goes mild, he'll energize the Right but he won't energize the center or Left," he said.

Trumka compared the situation to his days negotiating labor contracts as president of the United Mine Workers: "Why would I ask for 50 cents when I will get the same grief for asking for $5? So I always asked for the $5."

The AFL-CIO has been pushing for comprehensive reform for years. It negotiated a deal with the Chamber of Commerce last year that became the basis of the Senate immigration bill.

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