PTI Labor Research
 
 
  Power Through Information  
 
 


Latest News - August 2010

August 14, 2010
Construction Workers’ Union to Rejoin A.F.L.-C.I.O.
Source: The New York Times
By: The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Laborers’ International Union has agreed to rejoin the A.F.L.-C.I.O., increasing hopes for the once-splintered labor movement to reunite under a single umbrella.

“We are very excited that the labor movement is headed toward becoming more unified just as we need it the most,” Richard L. Trumka, president of the federation, said in a statement Friday.

A spokesman for the laborers, David Miller, declined to confirm the decision. But he said that leaders of his union, which has 800,000 members and represents construction workers, would have more to say after a meeting on Sunday. Mr. Trumka told the federation’s executive council last week that the move would become final in October.

The laborers and five other unions left the federation in 2005 in a bitter dispute that damaged the A.F.L.-C.I.O.’s political heft and sapped millions in dues from its budget.

Led by the Service Employees International Union president, Andy Stern, the breakaway unions formed the rival Change to Win federation amid complaints that the A.F.L.-C.I.O. was not doing enough to organize new workers and halt the steady decline in union membership and influence.

Mr. Trumka has made a major push for unity since he was named the federation’s president last September, rekindling closer relationships with the service employees, the Teamsters, the United Food and Commercial Workers, and the United Farm Workers — the four remaining Change to Win members.

The laborers are the second union to come back to the A.F.L.-C.I.O. Last year, the union of hotel, restaurant and clothing workers known as Unite Here also rejoined.

While Change to Win has helped its unions become more sophisticated and aggressive in organizing drives, critics say it never became a viable challenger to the 55-year-old A.F.L.-C.I.O. as a new model for organized labor.

“It’s an organization that never really got off the ground,” said Nelson Lichtenstein, a labor historian at the University of California, Santa Barbara. “Everything Change to Win did could have been done inside the A.F.L.-C.I.O.”

Mr. Stern retired as president of the service employees union earlier this year. This week, his top assistant, Anna Burger, left her posts as head of Change to Win and as secretary-treasurer of the service employees union.

A spokeswoman, Amy Weiss, said the point of Change to Win was not to create a mirror image of the A.F.L.-C.I.O.

“Change to Win has enabled its member unions to strategize and coordinate in new ways, and its critical early endorsement of Barack Obama helped set the stage for the general election,” Ms. Weiss said.

Mr. Lichtenstein said Change to Win was mostly a vehicle for Mr. Stern, whose ideas clashed with those of leaders at the A.F.L.-C.I.O. He predicted that “it’s only a matter of time” before the remaining breakaway unions return to the fold.

But the four remaining unions in Change to Win have given no indication that they are ready to make that move yet. The service employee union’s new president, Mary Kay Henry, has avoided such talk, saying her union and others have shown they can coordinate on political campaigns and labor’s legislative agenda without being part of the same federation.

“Whether they re-affiliate or not, everyone is trying to make peace and go forward and unite as a labor movement,” said Kate Bronfenbrenner, director of labor education research at Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations. “We may see one federation at some point, but right now there’s an effort to be one labor movement.”


 


Latest News

CampaignWebsites
Deliver your message anywhere, anytime.
Campaign Websites reinforce your campaign message in a format that preserves employee anonymity

More...

Union Awareness Program
PTI Labor Research has been obtaining and analyzing union activity and petitions for over 20 years. We have the largest and most extensive research data in the country which has been utilized by thousands of companies, labor lawyers and consultants.
More...

 

 
 
About Us          |          Services          |          News          |          Clients          |          FAQ          |          Contact Us

© 2009 PTI Labor Research. All Rights Reserved