Labor - USA

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US boycott threatens to split unions

Dan Roberts, Holly Yeager & Andrew Parker, Financial Times, July 24, 2005

The US labour movement's main umbrella body could be torn apart after four major unions said on Sunday they would boycott its quadrennial convention in Chicago.

The boycott could presage the unions quitting the AFL-CIO, which represents 13 million workers and is supposed to be celebrating its 50th anniversary.

As well as impacting the labour movement, the split inside the AFL-CIO could also have significant repercussions for corporate America and the Democratic party. ... US boycott

Disunity looms at AFL-CIO gathering

Dissident unions could break away
Niala Boodhoo, Sun-Sentinel, July 24, 2005

This year's AFL-CIO convention in Chicago marks the 50th anniversary for the organization that is the labor powerhouse in the United States.

But many aren't going to celebrate. Instead, the convention has become a showdown between the umbrella group and some of its biggest union members, who charge that today's AFL-CIO hasn't changed much during half a century and is no longer structured to properly organize the workers of today. ... Disunity looms

Showdown in the city for labor

SEIU leads dissident unions threatening a split from the AFL-CIO if their demands aren't met
Stephen Franklin, Chicago Tribune, July 24, 2005

Organized labor seems poised to make history in Chicago - by coming unglued.

With its four-day convention set to begin Monday, the AFL-CIO faces the likely departure of its biggest union, the 1.8 million-member Service Employees International Union, and possibly several others.

On Sunday the SEIU and five other unions, which have created an organization that could rival the AFL-CIO, may announce their strategies ... Showdown

Officials: 4 unions to boycott AFL-CIO convention

Associated Press, July 24, 2005

Chicago - Four major unions decided Sunday to boycott the AFL-CIO convention, setting the stage for one or more to bolt from the 50-year-old federation in a battle over how to reverse organized labor's decades-long decline, The Associated Press has learned.

The unions, representing about one-third of the AFL-CIO's 13 million members, planned to announce the decision Sunday afternoon, a day before the convention opens, according to three labor officials familiar with the failed negotiations to avoid the walkout. ... Officials

Farmworkers Join Dissidents

Associated Press, July 23, 2005

The small farmworkers union founded by labor hero Cesar Chavez joined a coalition of labor groups demanding changes in the AFL-CIO as the 50-year-old federation inched closer Friday to breaking up.

The United Farm Workers union, organized in 1962 and now consisting of 27,000 members, brings to seven the number of unions in the Change to Win Coalition. Four of the coalition unions have threatened to leave the AFL-CIO ... Farmworkers

Sweeney-Stern Dispute Has Roots in Friendship

NPR Morning Edition, July 22, 2005

AFL-CIO chief John Sweeney and the SEIU's Andy Stern first met in the 1970s, when Stern was president of a social workers' local in Pennsylvania. But what began as a mentoring relationship has taken a turn, with Stern calling for Sweeney's resignation.

It was Sweeney who brought Stern to the Service Employees International Union in Washington, where Stern made his name as an innovative head of organizing. But earlier this year - in a move that has been the talk of the labor movement - Stern called on his former mentor to retire. ... Sweeney-Stern

To Survive, Unions Must Head Back to Their Roots

Steven Pearlstein, Washington Post, July 22, 2005

If there was a seminal moment in the decline of the American labor movement, it was in the summer of 1981, when Ronald Reagan broke a strike by firing 12,000 unionized air traffic controllers who were demanding that they be paid as much as $100,000 a year. Union membership back then was near its all-time high. But in a single stroke, the new Republican president, elected in part with the votes of union households, conferred legitimacy to strike-breaking and exposed the myth of worker solidarity. ... To Survive

Showdown in Chicago

Is This Really an "Insurgency" to Shake Up the Labor Movement?
Joann Wypijewski, CounterPunch, July 22, 2005

The day nears for the 50th national convention of the AFL-CIO, opening in Chicago on July 25. The meeting is being heralded as a possibly fateful encounter, in which forces of enlightenment and reaction will wrestle in momentous debate over the future of organized labor.

On the one side, so the story goes, we have the dynamic "organizing" unions with vivid blueprints for revitalization; on the other side, the dinosaur unions and leadership of the AFL-CIO, content with the status quo even as union membership dips to its lowest level in 70 years. ... Showdown

AFL-CIO Convention Will Chart Future of Union Movement

American Federation of Labor - Congress of Industrial Organizations, July 21, 2005

Delegates gathering for the AFL-CIO’s 25th Constitutional Convention in Chicago July 25–28 will mark the 50th anniversary of the federation by charting a course to strengthen the union movement and improve the lives of working families through organizing, political action, building state and local power and bringing more diversity to labor movement's political ranks. Delegates also will elect top leaders for the next four years. ... AFL-CIO Convention

Labor Needs a Hard Left Turn

Interview with Bill Fletcher
David Bacon, t r u t h o u t, July 21, 2005

Bill Fletcher says the current debate over labor's future is dominated by an outdated conservatism.

Bill Fletcher is president of TransAfrica, a national policy organization in Washington dealing with issues surrounding Africa. After the reform administration of John Sweeney was elected in 1995, Fletcher became the labor federation's director of education, and later an assistant to AFL-CIO President John Sweeney. Forced out over his radical politics, Fletcher has since proposed a wide-ranging set of ideas for a truly new direction for US unions. They clearly need it. ... Labor Needs

Teamsters cleared to quit AFL-CIO

Convention may be turning point
Associated Press, July 21, 2005

Washington - The Teamsters yesterday gave their union's leaders authority to decide whether to leave the AFL-CIO.

That puts four of the five unions unhappy with AFL-CIO policies in position to leave if their leaders choose, possibly before the labor federation's convention next week. Several unions are threatening to bolt by then if it looks like they will not get enough concessions from the AFL-CIO's president, John Sweeney. ... Teamsters cleared

The AFL-CIO and international labor solidarity

Kim Scipes, Portside, July 15, 2005

On July 7, Portside published a piece by Ray Scannell, complaining about Portside's unbalanced coverage of AFL-CIO foreign policy issues. He specifically referred to my work, along with Fred Hirsch's, on this issue. I have waited to see if anyone else wanted to say anything before I replied, but since I haven't seen anything, I want to address Scannell's complaints. ... The AFL-CIO

John Sweeney

David T. Cook, Christian Science Monitor, July 13, 2005

"We have been organizing hundreds of thousands of workers, but we have been losing millions of good-paying manufacturing jobs. [Those have been] replaced by low-wage, part-time jobs, in many cases, with little or no healthcare and little or no retirement security. The [Bush] administration has been as anti-worker and anti-union as any administration in the history" of the US. ... John Sweeney

Workers of the world ... disunite!

Jonathan Cutler & Thaddeus Russell, Christian Science Monitor, July 6, 2005

West Hartford & New York - The growing rift between insurgents in the AFL-CIO and the leadership of the labor federation looks increasingly like civil war. Those who care about the future of organized labor will now weigh the relative merits of the two factions. Important as these considerations may be, however, the real import of the battle within the house of labor is the battle itself. ... Workers of the world

Addendum to Discord at SEIU 888

Bruce Boccardy, SEIU 888, Interfaith Alliance, Portside, July 1, 2005

It is delightful to report that the Massachusetts Labor Relations Commission has ruled in my favor on the charge that I filed against the City of Boston last July. The decision finds probable cause that the City retaliated against me for the successful 2 previous promotion/lateral grievances against the City. They denied me a position despite possessing more qualifications and seniority than the selected candidate. ... Addendum

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