Representatives of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions were in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on Tuesday attending the 26th constitutional convention of the American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations, better known as the AFL-CIO.
ZCTU President Lovemore Matombo and Secretary General Wellington Chibebe were invited by the trade union federation to attend the convention, during which AFL-CIO President John J. Sweeney was to hand off to successor Richard Trumka, a third-generation coal miner.
Chibebe told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that workers in his country could learn much from the relationship between the U.S. government and labor.
President Barack Obama addressed the convention Tuesday, telling delegates that America's success has been based on its middle class, which opened opportunity to others.
"And the fundamental test of this century, of our time, is whether we will heed this lesson, whether we will let America become a nation of the very rich and the very poor of the haves and the have-nots, or whether we will remain true to the promise of this country and build a future where the success of all of us is built on the success of each of us," he said.
"That's the future I want to build," Obama told the labor convention. "That's the future the AFL-CIO wants to build. That's the future the American people want to build. That's the future that I've been working to build from the moment I took office."
President Obama also seized the occasion to drum up support for the health care reform legislation he hopes to see voted into law by the House and Senate later this year.
"We have talked this issue to death, year after year, decade after decade," Mr. Obama said. That's why I said the time for bickering is over, the time for games has passed, now is the time deliver on health care reform."