Day By Day

Monday, July 25, 2005

Fall of the House of Labor

AP reports:
CHICAGO - Organized labor is at war with itself as the Teamsters and a major service employees' union decide to bolt from the AFL-CIO, paving the way for two other groups to sever ties in the labor movement's biggest rift since the 1930s.

The Teamsters and the Service Employees International Union, the largest AFL-CIO affiliate with 1.8 million members, intended to announce Monday that they are leaving the federation after failing to reform the 50-year-old labor giant, according to several labor officials who spoke on condition of anonymity.


Two other... unions signaled their intentions to leave the AFL-CIO: United Food and Commercial Workers and UNITE HERE, a group of textile and hotel workers. But they were not scheduled to take part in Monday's news conference, said the officials who declined to be named because they were not authorized to discuss the developments prior to the news conference.

The four dissident unions, representing nearly one-third of the AFL-CIO's 13 million members, announced Sunday they were boycotting the federation's convention which begins Monday, a step that was widely considered to be a precursor to leaving the federation.

About time... Sweeney's old-style leftism has been a disaster for the labor movement. We are no longer living in an industrial economy and his principles and rhetoric are inappropriate to labor's current situation. The article points out the fundamental cleavage he has failed to address effectively.

The dissidents largely represent workers in retail and service sectors, the heart of the emerging new U.S. economy. Sweeney's allies are primarily industrial unions whose workers are facing the brunt of global economic shifts.

Read it here.

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