« Pundit Fever | Main | Why 70? »

May 17, 2005

Decision Time for the AFL-CIO

So Stern made it official. If Sweeney is reelected as head the AFL-CIO, the SEIU, Stern's union and the confederate's largest member, will disaffiliate. In terms of Labor, that's a big, big, deal. In addition, the SEIU, along with the Teamsters, UNITE-HERE, the Laborers and, potentially, the UFCW and Carpenters, released their vision of what the union movement should look like. It's an important document if you want to understand the current conflict, and I encourage you to download it (warning: PDF). The basic conflict is one between organizing and political work with Sweeney and the AFL-CIO's "mainstream" subscribing to the philosophy that the political environment and legislation has to change before unions can return to effective organizing while Stern and friends believe the organizing can succeed now and the political atmosphere can only be created by a resurgent labor movement. The nut graf, as Nathan Newman recognizes it, is here:

Our unions share a common commitment to uniting millions more workers with us as the top priority on the labor movement’s agenda. As the recent election shows, even our maximum political efforts fall short for the simple reason that we are too small. We believe that our movement can and must organize and grow on a mass scale today, because that is the only way to bring true change in the direction of our nation.

We are confident that American labor’s resources are sufficient — if properly aligned and leveraged — to serve as the economic and organizational foundation for a new movement to successfully organizing the millions of workers who hold out hope for the American Dream...Our unions stand for investing the maximum resources possible to build a movement of working people that can confront and restrain corporate power in both the workplace and the community. We do not believe our nation’s political course can change fundamentally unless more working people belong to unions. We believe that the only way to generate truly meaningful political outcomes is to empower working people through organization. A pro-worker political consensus in America will emerge only when millions more American workers belong to unions.

It's possible, if the paycheck protection proposals being offered by Arnold and others pass, that Stern's vision will become a legal necessity, and that'll be the end of that. And who knows, maybe that'd be a good thing, and would, in retrospect, be the worst victory Republicans have ever won. It'd essentially end the largest source of contention and controversy in the movement and force Labor to spend all its cash on organizing which, if it ended up working, would mean scores of newly progressive, newly motivated, newly activated voters.

There's another major element in Stern's proposals that's scaring quite a few unions because it would deny them their autonomy and, in some cases, fold them into single, mega-unions. Rather than having the current scattershot system of organizing where industrial unions bring waitresses into the fold and teachers work to unionize farmers, Stern wants unions organized by industry, not low-hanging fruit:

Economies of scale and the elimination of duplication of effort are critical to building new strength for working people. The AFL-CIO should play an active and direct role in working with affi liated unions to facilitate mergers – subject to approval by the affected members — that lead to increased power for workers in the same or complimentary industries. A proactive, industry-based merger policy – whose goal is to build worker bargaining power — will give workers the chance to unite their strength before overwhelming economic and political forces have weakened their unions to the point that it may be too late for mergers to make much difference.

Don't be fooled by the democratic rhetoric, if Stern had his way these unions would be forcibly merged and incorporated. The guy's a bit of an autocrat. He's also, in my judgment, right. Currently, unions undercut each other. They attack the same groups and sabotage each other. They make it easier for the companies to repel the assault. It's a mess and Stern's right to end it. He's also right to propose that the AFL-CIO create a $25 million fund for movement-wide campaigns, campaigns focused on employers or trends too big for single unions to effectively wage, which is to say "Wal-Mart".

I tend to come down on Stern's side of things, though there are certainly good reasons to support Sweeney or others in the middle. The truth is, however, that Labor is in the final stages of a multi-decade decline. They're not strong enough to control elections and they're not strong enough to reverse their fading membership rolls or, at the least, they're not strong enough to do both at once. The movement needs to focus and, since it obviously can't focus on the political side to the detriment of organizing, they need to focus on building their numbers. The Democratic party's got small donors now, we've got ACT for field and MoveOn for money. Time for Labor to worry about themselves.

As an aside, best labor coverage in the blogosphere is, bar none, Nathan Newman. If you're not reading him yet, now's the time to start.

May 17, 2005 in Labor | Permalink

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
https://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8341c572d53ef00d83422a8d053ef

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Decision Time for the AFL-CIO:

» He Goes, or We Do from i'm just waiting for the robot invasion
So, SEIU President Andrew Stern has put it in pretty simple terms, either AFL-CIO President John Sweeney goes, or they do."We need to make far-reaching changes and have a leader committed to such changes, and that leader is not John Sweeney,"Yup. You d... [Read More]

Tracked on May 17, 2005 4:36:02 PM

» He Goes, or We Do from i'm just waiting for the robot invasion
So, SEIU President Andrew Stern has put it in pretty simple terms, either AFL-CIO President John Sweeney goes, or they do."We need to make far-reaching changes and have a leader committed to such changes, and that leader is not John Sweeney,"Yup. You d... [Read More]

Tracked on May 17, 2005 5:17:40 PM

Comments

Of course, there seems to be a whole "screaming into the void" quality in all of this, in that union membership is steadily declining. So we'll see what happens when the realities of waning influence catch up to all involved.

Posted by: Joe | May 17, 2005 4:59:13 PM

Joe, Stern's whole point, or at least a big part of it, is addressing exactly that problem.

Posted by: djw | May 17, 2005 5:42:30 PM

A significant obstacle to organizing people in many occupations is the word (and concept) 'union' itself. Employers want their employees to think they will be judged on merit, not just seniority - as unions have traditionally advocated - and in many businesses that appeal to individual effort being recognized and rewarded is appealing to workers. They think they can do better than the person working next to them. Being in a union sounds so faceless and antithetical to the American Dream ethic of personal effort leading to success.

Organizing IS needed, but some other things need fixing too in the labor movement, particularly finding a way to make labor unions emotionally appealing to people who value their own effort in getting ahead. I don't have a clue on how to do this, but I think it is the major challenge ahead. It can be done, witness: airline pilot unions, MD unions in a very few locations, etc., seem to have overcome this problem.

It certainly is true however, that the muscle of law and regulation is now on the side of the employers, and it isn't getting better. If Sweeney is waiting for this to happen before expanding organizing, then he is not reading the cards well in the current political climate.

I'm reminded of how long and hard it took for hotel and restaurant employees to organize in San Francisco. I believe one strike lasted about seven years. The businesses could outlast the union, they thought, by hiring non-union strike breakers. The farm workers had similar problems over a long period.

How many unions today would be able to sustain that kind of effort, for instance amoung computer programmers in software businesses?

Posted by: JimPortlandOR | May 17, 2005 5:49:15 PM

Whoops. Sorry 'bout the double ping.

"We're having technical difficulties, please stand by"

Posted by: Brew | May 17, 2005 7:30:48 PM

Jim makes a good point. What about a version of union organizing in which employees had some formal say in promotions? Instead of seniority, there'd be some sort of voting system? Like, X number of slots allotted on various measures of productivity, including "building workplace morale," "innovative solving," etc.

The way I see it, employees should be as invested (if not more so) in the success of a business as its managers are. If the business goes under, they're losing their goddam house! I think this would especially appeal to professionals like the aforementioned programmers. If it wasn't a matter of puttig in 20 years, but of making measurable contributions as measured by one's peers, they might be more into it...

Posted by: theorajones | May 18, 2005 11:55:43 AM

This proposal is right to recognize that as long as weaker unions cut deals with employers to keep out stronger unions, the labor movement is shooting itself in the back and it is those workers who most need effective representation who suffer. Critics of the New Unity Partnership are right to remind us that the absolute right of a worker to join a union of her choosing is not to be compromised. No one wants to see workers shoehorned into pre-selected unions based on negotiations in which they have no part. But the fundamental economic freedom of union representation is not served when weak unions take on the role of the company unions of the pre-Wagner era and push out internationals which threaten an employer because they have the power to win real gains. The only way I can see to empower workers to organize and to win is through the formation and standards and the facilitation of negotiation, and the reformers are right to identify a role for the AFL-CIO, as a voluntary union federation, to play here in maximizing the effectiveness of its member unions in growing and serving the ranks of its member workers. Too often, this issue is discussed as a matter of big unions versus small unions. But the assumptions that small unions are always more democratic and that that big unions are always more effective are both misguided, and neither is borne out by history. Much more salient is the division between those unions which prioritize organizing and industrial democracy and those which do not.

Posted by: Josh | May 19, 2005 7:16:47 PM

wow gold
wow gold
wow gold
wow gold
powerleveling
powerleveling
power leveling
power leveling
wow powerleveling
wow powerleveling
wow power leveling
wow power leveling
powerleveling
powerleveling
power leveling
power leveling

wow powerleveling
wow powerleveling
wow power leveling
wow power leveling
wow power level
wow power level
wow power level

出会い
wow power level
world of warcraft powerleveling
world of warcraft powerleveling
world of warcraft power leveling
world of warcraft power leveling
wow power leveling
wow power leveling
wow powerleveling
wow powerleveling
wow power leveling
wow power leveling
World of Warcraft Gold

World of Warcraft Gold
World of Warcraft Gold
World of Warcraft Gold
wow gold
wow gold
World of Warcraft Gold
World of Warcraft Gold
powerleveling
powerleveling
powerleveling
powerleveling
wow gold
wow gold
World of Warcraft Gold
World of Warcraft Gold

beijing travel
china tour
china tour
beijing
beijing
great wall
翻译公司
翻译公司
上海翻译公司
上海翻译公司
保洁
保洁

rolex replica
rolex replica
beijing hotels
beijing hotels
识别
OCR
OCR
即时翻译
即时翻译
身份证识别
身份证识别
税控收款机
税控收款机
高速扫描
手写
手写
光学字符识别
光学字符识别

shanghai hotels
shanghai hotels

Posted by: wow gold | Aug 30, 2007 1:59:00 PM

托盘
托盘
钢托盘
钢制托盘
塑料托盘
木托盘
木制托盘
纸托盘
木塑托盘

托盘
钢托盘
钢制托盘

托盘
钢托盘
钢制托盘
塑料托盘
托盘

托盘
钢托盘
钢制托盘
钢托盘
木托盘
钢制托盘
托盘
塑料托盘

托盘
钢托盘
钢制托盘

托盘
钢托盘
钢制托盘
塑料托盘
木托盘
南京托盘
南京钢托盘
上海托盘

托盘
钢托盘
钢制托盘
塑料托盘
木托盘
南京托盘
南京钢托盘
上海托盘

托盘
钢托盘
钢制托盘
塑料托盘
木托盘
纸托盘
南京托盘
上海托盘
北京托盘
广州托盘
杭州托盘
成都托盘
武汉托盘
长沙托盘
合肥托盘
苏州托盘
无锡托盘
昆山托盘

托盘
钢托盘
钢制托盘
塑料托盘
木托盘
纸托盘
南京托盘
南京钢制托盘
南京钢托盘
上海托盘
北京托盘

托盘
托盘
托盘
托盘
钢托盘
钢制托盘
塑料托盘
塑料托盘
塑料托盘

托盘
塑料托盘
钢托盘
钢制托盘
铁托盘
托盘
钢托盘
铁托盘
钢制托盘
塑料托盘

托盘
钢托盘
铁托盘
钢制托盘
塑料托盘
托盘
钢托盘
铁托盘
钢制托盘
塑料托盘

托盘
托盘
钢托盘
钢托盘
铁托盘
铁托盘
钢制托盘
钢制托盘
塑料托盘
塑料托盘

托盘
钢托盘
铁托盘
钢制托盘
塑料托盘
托盘
钢托盘
铁托盘
钢制托盘
塑料托盘
托盘
钢托盘
铁托盘
钢制托盘
塑料托盘

托盘
钢托盘
铁托盘
钢制托盘
塑料托盘
托盘
托盘
托盘
钢托盘
铁托盘
钢制托盘
塑料托盘

托盘
钢托盘
钢制托盘
铁托盘
塑料托盘
木托盘
木制托盘
纸托盘
木塑托盘
柱式托盘
波纹托盘
镀锌托盘
南京托盘
上海托盘
北京托盘
广州托盘
托盘
钢托盘
钢制托盘
铁托盘
塑料托盘
木托盘
木制托盘
纸托盘
木塑托盘
柱式托盘
波纹板托盘
镀锌托盘
南京托盘
上海托盘
北京托盘
广州托盘

托盘
钢托盘
钢制托盘
铁托盘
塑料托盘
木托盘
木制托盘
纸托盘
木塑托盘
柱式托盘
波纹托盘
镀锌托盘
南京托盘
上海托盘
北京托盘
广州托盘
托盘
钢托盘
钢制托盘
铁托盘
木托盘
塑料托盘
木塑托盘
柱式托盘
波纹板托盘
镀锌托盘
南京托盘
上海托盘
北京托盘
广州托盘

托盘
钢托盘
钢制托盘
铁托盘
塑料托盘
木托盘
木制托盘
纸托盘
木塑托盘
柱式托盘
波纹托盘
镀锌托盘
南京托盘
上海托盘
北京托盘
广州托盘
托盘
钢托盘
钢制托盘
铁托盘
塑料托盘
木托盘
纸托盘
木塑托盘
柱式托盘
波纹板托盘
镀锌托盘
南京托盘
上海托盘
北京托盘
广州托盘


托盘
钢托盘
钢制托盘
托盘
塑料托盘

Posted by: peter.w | Sep 15, 2007 1:10:30 PM

Tattoos
Tattoo

Angel Tattoos
Bullseye Tattoo
Butterfly Tattoos
Celebrity Tattoo
Celtic Tattoo
Chinese Tattoo
Cross Tattoos
Dragon Tattoo
Fairy Tattoos
Flower Tattoo
Heart Tattoo
Henna Tattoo
Lower Back Tattoos
Miami Ink Tattoo
Religious Tattoo
Rose Tattoos
Skull Tattoos
Star Tattoos
Sun Tattoo
Tattoo Art
Tattoo Flash
Tattoo and Piercing
Tattoo Design
Tattoo Graphic
Tattoo Idea
Tattoo Removal
Tattoos
Tattoos of Scorpions
Temporary Tattoo
Tribal Tattoo

Emo Hair Style
Bang Hair Style
Sedu Hair Style
Prom Hair Style
Short Hair Style
Black Hair Style
How to do Hairstyles
Long Hair Style
Man Hair Style
Hair Style Cut
New Hair style
Formal Hair Style
Medium Hairstyle
Curly Hair Style
African American Hair Style
Hair Style Updo
Hair Style Magazine
Braid Hair Style
Teen Hair Style
Bridal Hair Style
Punk Hair Style
Kid Hair Style
Jessica Simpson Hair Style
Layered Hair Style
Layered Hairstyles
Color Hair Style
Cruise
Cruises
Royal Caribbean Cruise
France Cruise
Panama Cruise
Asia Cruises
Luxury Cruises
Alaskan Cruise
Caribbean Cruise
Princess Cruise
Baltimore Cruise
Boston Cruises
Cruises to Hawaii
Crystal Cruises
Carnival Cruises
Cheap Cruises
Norwegian Cruises
Cruise Discount
Disney Cruises
Best Price on Cruises
Cruise Critics
Mediterranean Cruises
Cruise Wedding
Celebrity Cruise
Singles Cruises
Bermuda Cruise

Posted by: Peter | Sep 20, 2007 2:01:21 PM

If you need emergency cash, this is a great resource

Posted by: Emergency Cash | Mar 22, 2008 4:11:54 PM

[ A few of you eagle eye readers noticed that I never posted any additional recaps from the cruise I went on in January-- so, in honor of you guys, who are clearly paying close attention, I've decided to do some cruise posts. They're slightly belated, but that just means I've been able to revisit and contextualize them a bit. Plus, my regular policy of "no names" remains. Royce, Saul... you guys are safe. Sort of.]

Posted by: Cruise Videos | Mar 31, 2008 4:31:24 PM

出会い
チャットレディ
出会い

Posted by: masinn | Aug 29, 2008 9:16:19 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.