LOS ANGELES, Sept 9 (Reuters) - The chief of the AFL-CIO said the largest U.S. federation of labor unions will not campaign against the nomination of Lawrence Summers to be the next Federal Reserve chairman.
While AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka reiterated that he would prefer to see Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Janet Yellen lead America’s powerful central bank, he said his group would not join liberal groups openly opposing Summers.
“We’re not going to get involved in a campaign against anybody,” Trumka told reporters on Sunday at the labor federation’s quadrennial convention in Los Angeles.
The AFL-CIO’s 57 member unions represent more than 12 million workers in a variety of industry sectors.
The convention will set the federation’s agenda for the next four years. Its focus is to work with non-labor allies to achieve common goals.
Trumka had not previously said if the AFL-CIO would seek to block Summers, should he be nominated by the White House. But Trumka has been candid that labor would prefer Yellen.
“She understands that the Federal Reserve has two jobs, one is to fight inflation, the other is to seek full employment,” Trumka said. “The last several federal reserve chairmen have not remembered their two-pronged test, they only remembered fighting inflation.”
Trumka said Yellen was prescient in predicting the banking crisis and would stand up for the country’s workers.
Yellen and Summers are believed to be Democratic President Barack Obama’s top candidates to succeed Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, whose second four-year term ends in January.
Obama’s Fed pick, after being vetted by the White House, would have to be confirmed by the Senate.
The White House has said no decisions have been made about Bernanke’s successor, and the president is unlikely to announce the nominee until later this year.