Splitsville for the AFL-CIO

When the big AFL-CIO convention started in Chicago, the SEIU and the Teamsters decided to skip the convention altogether - signaling their divorce from the umbrella organization in the labor movement. As Oregon AFL-CIO president Tim Nesbitt blogged:

This was the day that “the split” hit the media fan.

Of course, this is all so much inside baseball. But, Tim's asking the question - what about working people? What impact will this have?

If you’re a working person who knows little about unions and a lot about how you’re working harder than ever and still struggling to make ends meet, and you pick up on any of this, are we talking to you? Can you hear us now? I hope so, because this is the first test of whether this debate over different paths to common goals will help us reach more working people in this country and make our union movement more relevant to their lives.

In a later post, Tim pointed out successes here in Oregon:

As I reminded reporters in Oregon today, we’ll still have the same number of unions with the same number of union members and the same resources after this convention. We may have to restructure our efforts, but we have a long tradition of working together in broad-based labor coalitions and campaigns of the kind that raised Oregon’s minimum wage in 2002 and produced a pro-worker majority in our State Senate in 2004. This is one area where we’ve learned what works for working families, and we’re committed to expanding, improving and continuing it.

Check it out - and discuss here.

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    It's a bit hard to guess what the long-term ramifications of this will be, but I think in the end, labor really needed to make some changes. It wasn't going to happen under Sweeney's AFL-CIO. If--wonder of wonders--Stern can figure out how to begin to re-organize America's lost workers, we'll look back at this as a wonderful moment.


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