<body><script type="text/javascript"> function setAttributeOnload(object, attribute, val) { if(window.addEventListener) { window.addEventListener('load', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }, false); } else { window.attachEvent('onload', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }); } } </script> <div id="navbar-iframe-container"></div> <script type="text/javascript" src="https://apis.google.com/js/plusone.js"></script> <script type="text/javascript"> gapi.load("gapi.iframes:gapi.iframes.style.bubble", function() { if (gapi.iframes && gapi.iframes.getContext) { gapi.iframes.getContext().openChild({ url: 'https://www.blogger.com/navbar.g?targetBlogID\x3d8027888\x26blogName\x3dRESIST+OPPRESSION\x26publishMode\x3dPUBLISH_MODE_BLOGSPOT\x26navbarType\x3dBLACK\x26layoutType\x3dCLASSIC\x26searchRoot\x3dhttp://resistoppression.blogspot.com/search\x26blogLocale\x3den_US\x26v\x3d2\x26homepageUrl\x3dhttp://resistoppression.blogspot.com/\x26vt\x3d-6094122990481712765', where: document.getElementById("navbar-iframe-container"), id: "navbar-iframe" }); } }); </script>

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

6/14/2005

Presidents of Teamsters, UFCW, UNITE-HERE, Laborers' & SEIU To Hold Press Conference

Source: Teamsters

Leaders of five of the largest unions in the AFL-CIO -- Teamsters, UFCW, UNITE-HERE, Laborers', and SEIU --will hold a press conference Wednesday, June 15, at 12:30 PM at the Laborers'International Union of North America headquarters to announce the creation ofa new multi-union organization to address the urgent need for a large-scale,coordinated effort to rebuild the American labor movement in the face ofglobalization.

The press conference will follow a meeting of 50 of the top leaders of the five unions who will adopt a Constitution and Bylaws for the new organizationand develop coordinated organizing and growth plans.

The five unions represent 5 million workers. They have recently partnered on a platform that would reform the AFL-CIO and bring the labor movement intothe 21st Century. The platform calls for dramatic new emphasis on organizingnon-union workers and for restructuring federation and affiliate activities torespond to the profound changes in the American economy.

1 Comments:

Blogger Josh Eidelson said...

The dissidents' proposals represent a blue-print with at least the potential to bring real change to a federation in deep need of it. It's a shame that a leader like John Wilhelm won't get a shot at implementing it within the AFL-CIO structure, at least for now. Hopefully, even now that he's secured the votes to guarantee re-election, John Sweeney will continue to feel and respond to the pressure to build a federation which leads its member unions to revived power by prioritizing aggressive organizing facilitating effective cooperation, and encouraging tactics which work.

The AFL-CIO, unfortunately, has not been working for a long time, in part because too often its approach has looked more like the narrow approach of the old AFL than the agressive broad-based approach of the CIO. There's plenty to fear about a potential breakaway from the federation. The kind of union raiding which the reformers have identified as a challenge to labor's effectiveness could become uglier were some or all of these unions to move outside of the structure of the AFL-CIO. And the red-baiting and purging of early post-war period can be pinned in part on the division between the AFL and the CIO. But that said, the same competition between the federations also sparked a great deal of tremendous organizing which, if not for the CIO's existence as an independent organization, might very well never have taken place. Unions like SEIU and UNITE HERE have a model which is working, though certainly imperfectly, and it's a model which has has achieved some impressive successes despite the failure of the federation to effectively serve the functions they've rightfully called for it to execute. If pulling out means a renewed ability to marshall resources for maximum efficacy in organizing, to build stronger coalitions with other progressive organizations with shared worldview, to more effectively hold politicians accountable (good cop, bad cop, et al), and to press the AFL-CIO from the outside to reform, it could be more than worthwhile.

The narrow lense through which this has all been read in the Times and Post and such, unfortunately, is "Labor = Democratic Turnout Machine" and ergo "Division in labor = peril for Democrats." This slant is both short-sighted and wrong-headed. What the Democratic party needs, and should be doing much more to foster, is a reversal of the decline in American union membership. Any change that leads to more effective organizing broadens the Democratic constituency. Internal debate about how to make that happen is certainly healthy; if a split is effective in making union membership a reality for the millions of Americans who want it, then that spells great things for the Democratic party. If it can't accomplish that, then it's already a terrible move. But there's no reason to assume that two federations would be fatally less effective at political turnout than one. The Democratic politicians who really have a reason to be afraid are the ones coasting on their partisan affiliation without keeping promises to American workers. If these newspapers are committed to assessing what a split would mean for the Democratic party, first they'll need to engage the conversation on what it means for the labor movement.

Josh

11:47 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home