Unions not really feeling the AFL-CIO’s push to regain clout with expanding progressive alliances

posted at 4:01 pm on September 9, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

Big Labor is plenty aware of their movement’s increasing loss of political clout relative to their glory days of yore, with union membership on a steady decline across the country. The state of Michigan’s recent right-to-work switchover and the White House’s oh-so-intolerable delay in acquiescing to Labor’s request to extend ObamaCare’s subsidies (meant for low-income individuals sans insurance through their employer) to workers in multi-union, non-profit sponsored plans, among other ObamaCare-related requests, are just some recent examples contributing to their growing sense of defeat.

Expect the decline in influence to serve as a major theme of the big AFL-CIO conference this week, on which President Obama already bailed to deal with the ongoing Syria debacle and at which president Richard Trumka already lamented to reporters, “We are in a crisis right now and none of us are big enough to change that crisis. None of us are big enough to change the economy and make it work for everybody. It takes all progressive voices working together.” Specifically, the AFL-CIO is considering a resolution that would formalize certain partnerships with outside, non-member liberal groups in an attempt to broaden their base as a larger progressive movement — and a bunch of individual unions are emphatically not on board with the idea. Via The Hill:

Union leaders told The Hill that they have questions on how the nation’s largest federation plans to include environmental and civil society organizations under the AFL-CIO banner. …

“However, to say that we are going to grow this labor movement by some kind of formal partnership, membership, status, place in this federation, I am against. This is the American Federation of Labor. We are supposed to be representing workers and workers’ interests,” [International Association of Fire Figthers (IAFF) Harold] Schaitberger said. “We are not going to be the American Federation of Progressive and Liberal Organizations.”

Others in labor, especially in the building and construction sectors, have aggressively pushed back against the proposal. Those unions have clashed repeatedly with environmental groups over building the Keystone XL pipeline.

“Does that mean we are going to turn energy policy of the AFL-CIO over to the Sierra Club? I have concern about that, as well as I should,” said Terry O’Sullivan, president of the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA). …

“Giving people a seat where they have governance, and they don’t represent workers, that was a bridge too far for lots of folks,” Sean McGarvey, president of the AFL-CIO Building and Construction Trades Department, told the Journal.

To keep some of their traditional sway over the Democratic party, they evidently feel the need to bring in outside interests, even when those interests risk directly clashing with their own members (the Keystone XL pipeline is a perfect example of usually Democratic contingents perfectly ready to throw one another under the bus); it kind of smacks of semi-panicked survivalist mode, no?


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the donner party

t8stlikchkn on September 9, 2013 at 4:05 PM

awwwww….pity

workingclass artist on September 9, 2013 at 4:06 PM

What a dumb idea, I hope they go for it!

Cindy Munford on September 9, 2013 at 4:08 PM

That man looks like a pig.

SailorMark on September 9, 2013 at 4:09 PM

I will enjoy watching them eat their own.

sort of on topic but local…here in Houston the public is slowly learning of the pension debt the city is carrying. Does anybody know when the municipal workers unionized down here? I figure the police and firemen may have had representation for a while but I would like to know when AFSCME and SEIU moved in and got all of the other workers enrolled. I don’t think SEIU is more than about 5 years old here.

DanMan on September 9, 2013 at 4:11 PM

You forgot to mention amnesty (a policy for which Trumka fights tooth and nail) and the thirty hour rule of the employer mandate which will lead to cut hours and additional wage competition.

blammm on September 9, 2013 at 4:13 PM

The beatings will continue until (fill in the blank).

nobar on September 9, 2013 at 4:15 PM

This is all wrong. I know for a fact the plumbers, pipe fitters, operating engineers, electricians, teamsters, insulators, steel workers, etc. are all on board with the Sierra Club in stopping work on the Keystone Pipeline. There is no work there for them./

CW20 on September 9, 2013 at 4:16 PM

Did anyone see one headline about last weeks Walmart walkout?

Unions… Clout… Nada…

patman77 on September 9, 2013 at 4:16 PM

“Big Labor is plenty aware of their movement’s increasing loss of political clout relative to their glory days of yore, with union membership on a steady decline across the country.”

ALRIGHT!

Liberty RULES … give Americans the choice, and they will ABANDON their corrupt Union Leadership

#BeClingers ————> #AmericaRISING

exodus2011 on September 9, 2013 at 4:25 PM

I imagine he was picked as head union layabout because he looks feisty and tough when he bloviates. If I was in a bargaining session with him, I’d have to take a swing at him just on principle.

BL@KBIRD on September 9, 2013 at 4:35 PM

There’s this outfit called the Communist Party USA that already serves as an umbrella for a lot of other groups, which they call “fronts.”

Akzed on September 9, 2013 at 4:45 PM

This is all wrong. I know for a fact the plumbers, pipe fitters, operating engineers, electricians, teamsters, insulators, steel workers, etc. are all on board with the Sierra Club in stopping work on the Keystone Pipeline. There is no work there for them./

CW20 on September 9, 2013 at 4:16 PM

The REB’s estimate of the jobs that Keystone would create is down to eight, so yeah.

slickwillie2001 on September 9, 2013 at 4:58 PM

I will enjoy watching them eat their own.

As will I. When the moochers and the thieves are in direct competition for limited financial resources, it’s the inevitable result. My only question is: What will be salvageable after the battle?

sort of on topic but local…here in Houston the public is slowly learning of the pension debt the city is carrying. Does anybody know when the municipal workers unionized down here? I figure the police and firemen may have had representation for a while but I would like to know when AFSCME and SEIU moved in and got all of the other workers enrolled. I don’t think SEIU is more than about 5 years old here.

DanMan on September 9, 2013 at 4:11 PM

But, are they waking up? I say, no. Until they feel serious pain, the status quo will remain unchanged. Even then, every failure will be a failure of cApItAliSm!!1111eLebIntY!!111! spin dried and neatly folded by the MarxistMedia®. People are being conditioned to not only accept, but demand as a right, the labor of others. If they can’t get that through demands, they will vote for those that promise them access to the magic, everlasting Money Tree.

98ZJUSMC on September 9, 2013 at 5:06 PM

To see the former head of the United Mine Workers Union side with the Sierra Club is mind blowing. This clown has been in DC Lawyer since the UMW sent him to law school. He was a miner for all of 2 yrs.Unions will not survive if the leadership abandons the trades that made them a Union leader in the first place.

Thicklugdonkey on September 9, 2013 at 5:07 PM

The left excels at fostering division between right groups.

The right absolutely sucks at fostering division between left groups.

This is the perfect schism to widen. There’s real weakness to be found in the cleft between environmental groups and union workers.

beatcanvas on September 9, 2013 at 5:18 PM

More popcorn!

GarandFan on September 9, 2013 at 5:30 PM

98ZJUSMC on September 9, 2013 at 5:06 PM

May want to dial back to decaf for the afternoon brother. Apparently the unions have provided talking points to folks to write to the editor of the Comical and local blogs. The paper absolutely covers for our liberal mayor, thus she never has to mention the issue. She’s up for re-election and none of her opponents will discuss it but questions are being asked of the candidates.

My hunch is the unions got invited to the bargaining table about the same time the debt started piling on 10 years ago. That’s why I asked. Some of the talking points are this has been building for over 20 years, people’s lively hoods are at stake, we can’t change now its too late, etc. and I don’t think that is true.

DanMan on September 9, 2013 at 5:32 PM

At least they’re admitting (once again) that they care nothing for their workers and are just another leftist organization in league with democrats to steal from society.

njrob on September 9, 2013 at 5:32 PM

“We are not going to be the American Federation of Progressive and Liberal Organizations.”

Too late, you already are exactly that!

RJL on September 9, 2013 at 5:41 PM

I was wondering when one of these union mobsters was going to figure out that they have nothing in common with the liberal-progressive-Democrat fairies. Trouble in pink paradise…

Jaibones on September 9, 2013 at 5:43 PM

That man looks like a pig.

SailorMark on September 9, 2013 at 4:09 PM

If I were a movie casting director looking for a Communist Apparatchik thug in an expensive suit, I’d hire Richard Trumka for that part in a heartbeat.

What a coincidence, that’s just about exactly what he is.

RJL on September 9, 2013 at 5:48 PM

Unions not really feeling the AFL-CIO’s push to regain clout with expanding progressive alliances

They’ll let these independent unions wither and die. If the PTB really are heading to some kind of Corporatist or Socialist system, ALL workers will be union members. The difference is that the union will actually be part of the Corporation itself.

Dr. ZhivBlago on September 9, 2013 at 5:56 PM

Trumka is more worried about his political clout than he is the interests of his members. Standard Marxist. I hope he does what he says. The AFL-CIO will collapse like the house of cards it has become.

Quartermaster on September 9, 2013 at 6:44 PM

*munch* *munch*

Would anyone like some popcorn? I just made a fresh batch for the show.

evilned on September 9, 2013 at 6:54 PM

Semantic question: Is “all progressive voices working together” the same thing as a “Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy”?

JohnD13 on September 9, 2013 at 7:51 PM

Something similar will be going on in England very soon. Gay Rights groups will be figuring out where to hold their Gay Pride Parades so that they don’t offend the sensibilities of “immigrants”.

ardenenoch on September 9, 2013 at 8:54 PM

“However, to say that we are going to grow this labor movement by some kind of formal partnership, membership, status, place in this federation, I am against. This is the American Federation of Labor. We are supposed to be representing workers and workers’ interests,” [International Association of Fire Figthers (IAFF) Harold] Schaitberger said. “We are not going to be the American Federation of Progressive and Liberal Organizations.”

According to Party doctrine, “progressive” and “liberal” (i.e., leftist) organizations are the only ones entitled to represent “workers’ interests”.

If Schaitberger hasn’t figured that one out by now, he’s too much of a smoke-eater and not nearly enough of a union “organizer”.

Or IOW, he is completely unaware of how a union actually works, as opposed to what he thinks it’s supposed to be doing.

clear ether

eon

eon on September 9, 2013 at 9:06 PM

We are in a crisis right now and none of us are big enough to change that crisis. None of us are big enough to change the economy and make it work for everybody.

There’s a fat joke in there somewhere…

Sockpuppet Politic on September 10, 2013 at 3:56 PM