President Barack Obama's forthcoming jobs plan may offer school construction money in order to woo the AFL-CIO union back to his side.
During a Tuesday morning radio interview, Obama let on that economic stimulus spending on school construction may be part of his upcoming jobs plan.
Syndicated radio host Tom Joyner pressed Obama for a laundry list of things he believes could be done right away to create jobs. The president then rattled off a list that included, "putting people to work rebuilding our roads, our bridges, our schools all across America."
He continued, "There are schools all across the country that right now you could put people to work fixing up."
America's public schools need over $271 billion in repairs and maintenance, according to the 21st Century School Fund.
The possible proposal already has the support of a key Obama supporter. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka endorsed the idea, telling USA Today, "With construction workers idle and our schools crumbling, now is the time to rebuild our schools."
Trumka's approval is a positive development for the Obama administration. It signals a rapprochement with the nation's largest labor union, which had previously announced that it would politically distance itself from the Obama campaign.
Jeff Hauser, media outreach specialist at AFL-CIO, told The Christian Post, "We are going to be more focused on building up our own institution. We want to build a voice for the working people rather than building up a certain political party."
Trumka personally donated $446 to Obama during his campaign for the presidency. However, the AFL-CIO poured $6.7 million into political communications and advertisements during the 2008 election.
The AFL-CIO has clashed with the Obama administration over such issues as the Employee Free Choice Act, the public health insurance option, renewal of the Bush tax cuts and the push for free trade deals.
Now the AFL-CIO plans to put its money into a super political action committee, which would allow it raise additional funds for its favored candidates in both local and national races.
Since the announcement, President Obama has reached out to the union with strong support for transportation reauthorization. On Tuesday, Obama stood with Trumka and others in a Rose Garden press conference to urge congressional members to pass a clean extension of key transportation programs.
School construction may be another opportunity for the president to reach out to AFL-CIO.