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Source: IBEW

In the face of challenges to American workers like globalization, outsourcing and a concerted effort to undo the gains organized labor has made over the past century, the labor movement needs solidarity and stability more than ever. The right man to lead the movement is the AFL-CIO’s current president, John Sweeney.

John Sweeney has capably led the AFL-CIO since his election in 1995, especially in strengthening labor’s political action program. The unions of the AFL-CIO, despite some membership loss, still constitute the largest and most effective voice for workers in the United States. As a unified movement, we speak with the authority and confidence of 13 million working men and women strong. Divisions among us can only diminish our voice and inhibit our growth.

John Sweeney is a consensus-builder, exactly what the leader of 57 autonomous unions should be. He is a man of quiet conviction who listens to the diverse views within labor then acts decisively.

Over the last several months, organized labor has engaged in a closely watched internal debate over the future of the movement. All sides in this discussion have raised some valid arguments.

There is virtually no argument that we need to revise our tactics and implement fundamental changes to address the forces that are threatening the living standards and economic opportunity of millions of working families.

Organized labor needs to get back to the business of fighting to protect the working men and women of America. We need to counter the administration’s efforts to gut Social Security, address the health care crisis and stop the export of jobs overseas through bad trade deals. We need to stop the spread of Wal-Mart’s employment philosophy and fight for good jobs with a living wage and benefits. These are some of the darkest days for working families in 100 years. Our enemies are strong enough without giving them aid and comfort by dividing the labor movement.

We urge all labor leaders to keep the focus on the rank and file members of our unions who have elected us, and who count on our ability to make decisions in their best interests. Don’t make them the victims of this power struggle. A smaller, divided labor movement will only harm the cause of unionism.

Let us not celebrate the 50th anniversary of the merger of the AFL-CIO with actions that imperil our strongest asset – our solidarity. Keep the debate going, but keep the federation intact.

Founded in 1891, the IBEW is an international labor organization with approximately 750,000 members in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Republic of Panama. IBEW members work in construction, utilities, manufacturing, telecommunications, broadcasting, railroad


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