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BUSINESS: AFL-CIO Union Faces Breakup

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posted on Jul, 25 2005 @ 07:18 AM
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The AFL-CIO federation of U.S. labor unions faces a possible schism as several of the largest component unions announced they will be boycotting the organization's convention in Chicago. The move is seen as a prelude to completely cutting ties with the AFL-CIO umbrella group. The labor unions joining the boycott are the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the Teamsters, and the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW).
 



www.chicagotribune.com
In a mark of organized labor's badly broken solidarity, four major unions Sunday said they would boycott the AFL-CIO's constitutional convention in Chicago, and three appear poised to bolt the federation that has loosely bound most of the nation's unions together.

Officials from the 1.3 million-member Teamsters and the 1.8 million-member Service Employees International Union, the AFL-CIO's largest union and the spark behind the reform-minded rebellion, said they would meet Monday and announce their plans.

Joe Hansen, president of the 1.3 million-member United Food and Commercial Workers Union, one of six dissident unions that have formed their own coalition, said he was inclined to pull his union out of the AFL-CIO, but he needed time to talk with UFCW leaders.

"If nothing changes, there is no sense staying," said Hansen on a day of emotion-filled rallies and last-minute planning by leaders gathered for the labor federation's four-day conference, its first in Chicago, which starts Monday.


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U.S. labor unions have been in decline for years, and will likely to continue to decline. Improved working conditions and salaries from non-union corporations plus their monolithic support for the Democratic party, which is now almost completely out of power in the U.S. have all contributed. Labor unions will need to completely reinvent themselves for the 21st century if they wish to survive.




posted on Jul, 25 2005 @ 02:08 PM
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Lots of companies now are hiring temporary contract workers, thus making their business one that supplies 'jobs' for the short term, rather than stable blue collar careers. This also means that the part-timers and temps don't have to unionize, or if they are under the union they are subject to c completely different benefits package. The Unions will have to address this problem, that is one of the big problems facing the working man today, a struggle for his very existence.



posted on Jul, 25 2005 @ 03:34 PM
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I would see the break up of the AFL-CIO as a good thing. Unions have brought down just about every big manufacturing industry in the US.

Unions are also a big proponant of the myth of lifelong employment as entitlement. This myth and the obligations forced onto it by the unions is what's going to bring General Motors down shortly. Airlines are next. Unions promote seniority over merit, which is a detrement to the company involved as quality of work and product suffers.

Yep, union menbers will be able to rejoice in the fact that instead of having a job that someone else has told them they are not getting paid enough for, they can have no job at all, while the comapany their union drove under has to default their pension plans to the Federal Government (which means the rest of us will have to pay off those plans). Unions use member's dues money for political purposes, without regard to the wishes of that member.

Ya know, if Unions hadn't spent the last 50 years driving the average labor wage up to 5 or 10 times what it is in the rest of the world, businesses wouldn't be so quick to feel they need to outsource to other countries.

Yeah, I'm Anti-Union, in case you couldn't tell.



posted on Jul, 25 2005 @ 09:08 PM
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I'm pro-union, and I think this is a fantastic thing that's happening. 92% of Americans are without Union protection. The states with the lowest union representation went red in the last election. The states with the highest percent of union representation voted blue. Hoffa Jr. wants to renew the union's focus on recruitment and retention. A more focused and driven drive to expand and grow.

I especially think this is fantastic during the run up to the 06 and 08 elections. It allows Democrats to shift the focus of their message away from hot button cultural issues that splits their own demographics (Gay marriage) and drives away potential voters (Religious moderates).

Instead, Democrats can concentrate their focus on issues in which they win. The Economy, Social Security, and the working class. This renewed interest in the nation's stuttering unions, and their apparent drive to recruit more members is simply the message to reach out to the moderate middle. Something that Hillary has been planning for.

Now it means that they're going to target voters who've traditionally voted against their best economic interests, in lue of voting for moral issues (like men kissing men while they get married, and whether the flag should be burned while they remove the ten commandments from our courthouses.)
Certainly, it's spooky in the short term, and they certainly run the risk of splitting up their power base. However, I see two things occuring in the next two years.

1) Wal Mart becomes a target. Unlike manufacturing jobs, Wal mart can't just pull stakes and move to Mexico. I can actually see a mass, nationwide movement on several different fronts to unionize the entire Wal Mart work force - and force the corporation to provide health care.

Some might say that Wal Mart employees wouldn't go for it, but it's win/win for them either way. Either they unionize and garner more benefits, or Wal Mart ponies up more benefits on their own. However, I don't for a minute buy the arguement that Wal Mart employees will routinely dismiss the notion of unionizing - just so the corporation can make 10 billion in profits, rather than 8 Billion.

2) The Unions push for the unionization of illegal immigrants now working menial labor picking fruit, mowing lawns, etc, etc. It would make sense that if NAFTA opened the doors for North American trade agreements - the moving of jobs, then they would also be forced to unionize foriegn citizens.

This makes me most happy, because eventually (And this is probably a lot further down the road) it forces corporations to pay a standardize living wage, regardless if that employee is in Colorado, Mexico, or Central America.

Regardless, rather than ringing the death nell for collective bargaining and our nation's unions, this decision marks for me, at least, a reinvigorated movement against globalization, against big corporations, and against union busting. This will eventually betters our nation's workers through recruitment and politics together.

In conclusion, this is the beginning of a concerted effort to regain what the moderate middle class has lost over the last twenty years. We've shifted away from a manufacturing based economy towards a consumeristic based economy. I'm a capitalist, but there needs to be a middle class for capitalism to thrive, and right now it's shrinking, as the gulft between rich and poor grows.

Poor people don't buy stuff.

Furthermore, It never ceases to amaze me how insipid Americans can sometimes be, especially about protecting themselves. The corporate world is not our friend. They're not loyal to us, they're only loyal to their own bottom line profits. And, for the betterment of America, Americans, and the future generations of our children, a positive counterbalance to our own conglomerates is needed.

Anti-Union = Anti-middle class.

P.S. What brought down General Motors is monolithic thinking and crappy ass cars. While the Japanese spent billions in the 80's on innovation, Detroit continued to develop the gaz guzzlers. It was only a decade later that their investment actually paid off, and now, Japanese cars are well known for running forever. People simply believe that Toyota makes a better car now than Chrysler. But, who'd fault is that? They guy in the plant, or the guy designing the cars?



posted on Jul, 26 2005 @ 11:59 AM
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It's a sad state of affairs.

I spent the first 12 working years of my life in non-Union shops. Got screwed over regularly for Holiday pay, overtime, etc. Like having you come in on 11pm on a holiday but since you actually start at the day after there's only one hour of holiday pay. Bonuses disappearing as production increases, the family owned company bringing in relatives as Supervisor positions out of the blue, and children of family coming in for "summer jobs" or "interns" making twice what everyone else doing the same job makes. Watching coworkers who've been in a job for years get fired because the owner's brother's daughter flirted with a guy and her Daddy found out, and had her file a sexual harassment suit.

been union for two years. Now I have health benefits and a grievance reporting system. But it goes too far. I have more holidays off (paid) than I used to have vacation time. sick time, personal leave, and vacation. This on the first year I was here. People with 5-10 years in have so much vacation they can't use it all, or have to spend a *month* off to keep from using it up.

And then there's the politics. The union here (SEIU 715) is rabidly Democrat. Democrat to a fault. Democrat regardless of the issues. Even when a Demo governor is caught with massive corruption and incompetence, the Union expects members to rally to save the guy's job. Why? Because he gives more money to the agencies the Union has people in.

When the Union gets into national, state, and local politics, rather than just helping workers against exploitative employers, then it's gotten way out of hand. When the Unions work harder for even more increased retirement benefits from the State when the State needs to tighten it's belt to get out of debt, when the Unions work too hard to get more for itself knowing it's at the expense of others, something has to be done.

Tho we can't buy all the anti-union propaganda either. There's nothing more the rich and pwoerful would like more than ays to strain out a few more percent profit by cutting benefits for workers. Interesting the Anti-Union stuff starts up biggest when there's more push for socialized medicine.

Unions-can't live with them, can't live without them.




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