By Jon Keller

BOSTON (CBS) – Former State Senator Steven Tolman is taking over as President of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO.

Political editor Jon Keller talked to Tolman about his top priorities in his new post and the Occupy Boston protests.

Tolman visited the protests on behalf of the AFL-CIO and distributed supplies like hand sanitizer and bottled water.

Tolman talks about Occupy Boston

He says that while some protesters seem to want an end to capitalism, his organization does not.

He says the protests are mainly focused against the financial industry in America. “There is a problem there and it seems like we need to just put a little microscope on it and find out why so many people lost so much and nobody was really held accountable.”

Tolman says one of his main priorities is gaining more union members and re-branding the AFL-CIO.

“There’s a direct correlation of the demise of the middle class to the lowering of union members,” says Tolman.

Tolman on changing the image of AFL-CIO

He says one of the most important tasks will be changing the image of the unions.

“We are often misidentified,” says Tolman. “The AFL-CIO is the spokesman for middle class America, middle class Massachusetts. However we’re not tagged that way. We are often tagged as selfish, inappropriate, and we are going to change that we need to re-brand who we are because we do care about the middle class in particular.”

Tolman is a Democrat who represented parts of Boston and Cambridge as well as Watertown and Belmont. A special election will be held January 10 to fill the vacant State Senate seat.

Jon Keller

Comments (5)
  1. Concern says:

    Organized Labor can raises for Central Falls, RI by using Charity Search Engines.

    Crazy Horse Memorial needs $200,000 to meet Nov. match.

  2. Concern says:

    50,000 Koean War National Museum supporters can use Charity Search Engines.

  3. tsal says:

    I’m mixed on unions. I think some serve a good purpose but some literally use their power to take jobs from others. As an aside, and as I’ve said before I was weaned on republican values – I literally cringed when I heard the words Belmont and Democrat in the same thought. Belmont was where I was raised and where my mom spent her entire life in the political arena and it was always a conservative town. Belmont is no longer what it was IMHO and if Tolman is an example of why I’m not sure I’d put much value in his views.

  4. mikey says:

    Obama’s proposed “jobs bill” is requesting $35 billion for teachers, police and firefighters. Guess who he’s sucking up to but he’s not “campaigning.”
    Yeah, right.

    1. tsal says:

      I was thinking about that this morning, Mikey. Is he campaigning – well, if it walks like a duck……………………

      Except what is he supposed to do until the elections – sit on his hands. The GOP certainly has decided to do that. We need jobs. What is anyone doing to create them? At least Obama is out there trying to get the people to do something.

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