AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Janet Yellen has a better approach on employment policies than Lawrence Summers. Both are mentioned as successors to Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke.
Trumka, who leads a federation of 57 labor unions with 12 million members, said the organization has yet to take a formal position on who should succeed Bernanke. Based on the histories of the leading candidates, Yellen’s policy positions are better.
Summers “may come out and say I am fully in favor of enforcing full employment as well as inflation,” Trumka told reporters today at a Washington breakfast sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor. “If you looked at history, who do I think would be the best at that job to date, I think you know who that is. She’s been very balanced in her approach forever.”
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Yellen, a former professor at the University of California, Berkeley, would be the first woman Fed chairman in its 100-year history should she succeed Bernanke.
Bernanke’s second four-year term ends Jan. 31. In a July 24 interview with the New York Times, President Barack Obama said he wants a chairman who understands the Fed’s dual mandate to promote maximum employment and price stability.
Summers, a former Treasury secretary who was chief economic adviser to Obama in 2008-2010, was president of Harvard University from 2001 to 2006.
Trumka, meeting with reporters ahead of the U.S. Labor Day holiday, also spoke of the challenges facing union members, such as wage stagnation. He said the AFL-CIO is working with the administration of President Barack Obama to overcome flaws with the Affordable Care Act and that Democratic candidates shouldn’t pay a political price for supporting the law.
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