L.A. Unions Welcome AFL-CIO

Posted on August 24, 2013 by

Union leaders and activists from around the country, in Los Angeles September 8 for the AFL-CIO Convention, will get a close look at a regional Labor Movement with membership numbers holding steady or even slightly increasing.

Compare this with much of the U.S. where the percentage of workers represented by unions is dropping rapidly and persistently.

L.A., more than most cities (and California, more than most states) has stayed a step ahead of an employer-class determined to cleanse the global economy of collective worker power.

Credit Los Angeles and statewide unions for building tightly-run coalitions with immigrant rights and economic justice groups, its brassy leadership and an electoral strategy which – so far, at least – has beaten back anti-union measures like Prop 32.

AFL-CIO delegates from the de-industrialized Midwest, by contrast, have been facing relentless attacks from republican governors and legislatures fronting right-to-work drives and laws restricting public employee bargaining rights.

Will unions in Michigan, Wisconsin and Ohio – without the advantages of California’s dynamic and diverse economy and political culture – ever find their way back?

No one at the convention will deny the existential crises plaguing the American Labor Movement.  But, as always, there are hopeful signs and the AFL-CIO will have some positive notes to hit:

  • One of the largest national unions will be rejoining the fold.  The 1.3 million-member United Food and Commercial Workers [UFCW] bolted from the federation in ’05 with several others in the “Change to Win” secession (only SEIU, Teamsters and UFW now remain).
  • For the first time in ten years, there’s a fully functioning National Labor Relations Board (five Senate-confirmed members), although some of the board’s pro-union decisions and rule-making could be voided next year if the Supreme Court finds President Obama’s previous recess appointments unconstitutional.
  • Union-funded Alt-Labor campaigns on behalf of minimum wage workers are gaining national attention.

Of course, there will be a lot of talk among delegates about widening income inequality, obstructionist republicans and a white house and administration whose actions on behalf of workers don’t measure up.

Another theme for “true believers” is how to keep the flame hot until American wage-earners recognize that economic justice won’t come without a fight.  In other words, laying the groundwork for that future Labor Movement, whatever it may look like.

Comments (1)

 

  1. Jeremy Wells says:

    Note: thefollowing was originally posted on the AFL-NOW BLOG posting of your article. The upcoming AFL-CIO convention in LA could be an historic event, or it could be a continuation of the decline of the AFL-CIO, the labor movement, and the further impoverishment of US working people.

    In order to see correct formatting with several
    important links, please go to the AFL-CIO URL:

    http://www.aflcio.org/blog/In-The-States/L.A.-Unions-Welcome-AFL-CIO

    Two proposals to build a broad and inclusive labor movement!

    U.S.working people, trade union organized and unorganized, must now unite to establish what FDR called “The Second Bill of Rights”, or “The Economic Bill of Rights”.

    An historic turning point in the U.S. to create a broad and inclusive labor movement could start in Los Angeles, September 8-12, at the AFL-CIO Convention.

    The AFL-CIO convention should implement these two proposals to fight back for the economic justice of all working people, not just organized workers, not just for “Middle Class” workers, not simply for a higher, capitalist approved, $15 hour
    minimum wage.

    The AFL-CIO today must realize that trade union labor contracts, by themselves, have failed to secure and maintain the economic justice of their members. Collective bargaining agreements only deal with wages and benefits with one employer. These labor contracts do not begin to cover other essential economic needs required by all working people, organized and especially unorganized. These economic needs are secured and maintained by laws passed by pro-labor law-makers, not by trade union contracts.

    New laws are now needed to maintain public (not privatized) education, establish universal “single-payer” (not “Obama-care”) health care, maintain (not cut) Social Security, create millions of “living wage” public sector jobs (which the private sector cannot provide) , etc. President Obama, both Democratic and Republican parties, are united in an economic class war that is creating barbaric economic inequality and impoverishment for working people in the U.S.

    1. A new Solidarity political party, to break with the corporate-corrupted Democratic Party, to powerfully unite all trade union and unorganized workers, which refuses all corporate money and agendas, will elect pro-labor law-makers as soon as possible in every local, State, and Federal election. The long-term goal of The Solidarity Party would be to build a new economy that provides a universal minimum “standard of living” for all working people.

    2. Pro-worker economic education for the public and all working people. The AFL-CIO must help sponsor, produce, and broadcast on a nightly PBS television, a news and commentary program promoting the economic betterment of working people. Corporate ownership and control of all
    mass media has indoctrinated, without any critical pro-worker opposition, an entire generation of viewers with pro-corporate anti-labor propaganda.

    Initially, the financial and people resources of the AFL-CIO will be needed to initiate these two proposals. Millions of new Solidarity Party voters, paying a minimal monthly dues, would easily fund the organizational needs. Fund-drives would provide on-going financial support of a pro-labor PBS program from viewers.

    The Solidarity Party will not be simply a “trade union party”, but fight for economic justice for all workers.. The PBS program must provide economic education and new perspectives that unite all working people, not just trade union members.

    Two proposals to build a broad and inclusive labor movement!

    U.S.working people, trade union organized and unorganized, must now unite to establish what FDR called “The Second Bill of Rights”, or “The Economic Bill of Rights”.

    An historic turning point in the U.S. to create a broad and inclusive labor movement could start in Los Angeles, September 8-12, at the AFL-CIO Convention.

    The AFL-CIO convention should implement these two proposals to fight back for the economic justice of all working people, not just organized workers, not just for “Middle Class” workers, not simply for a higher, capitalist approved, $15 hour
    minimum wage.

    The AFL-CIO today must realize that trade union labor contracts, by themselves, have failed to secure and maintain the economic justice of their members. Collective bargaining
    agreements only deal with wages and benefits with one employer. These labor contracts do not begin to cover other essential economic needs required by all working people, organized and especially unorganized. These economic needs are secured and maintained by laws passed by pro-labor law-makers, not by trade union contracts.

    New laws are now needed to maintain public (not privatized) education, establish universal “single-payer” (not “Obama-care”) health care, maintain (not cut) Social Security, create millions of “living wage” public sector jobs (which the private sector cannot provide) , etc. President Obama, both Democratic and Republican parties, are united in an economic class war that is creating barbaric economic inequality and impoverishment for working people in the U.S.

    1. A new Solidarity political party, to break with the corporate-corrupted Democratic Party, to powerfully unite all trade union and unorganized workers, which refuses all corporate money and agendas, will elect pro-labor law-makers as soon as possible in every local, State, and Federal election. The long-term goal of The Solidarity Party would be to build a new economy that provides a universal minimum “standard of living” for all working people.

    2. Pro-worker economic education for the public and all working people. The AFL-CIO must help sponsor, produce, and broadcast on a nightly PBS television, a news and commentary program promoting the economic betterment of working people. Corporate ownership and control of all
    mass media has indoctrinated, without any critical pro-worker opposition, an entire generation of viewers with pro-corporate anti-labor propaganda.

    Initially, the financial and people resources of the AFL-CIO will be needed to initiate these two proposals. Millions of new Solidarity Party voters, paying a minimal monthly dues, would easily fund the organizational needs. Fund-drives would provide on-going financial support of a pro-labor PBS program from viewers.

    The Solidarity Party will not be simply a “trade union party”, but fight for economic justice for all workers.. The PBS program must provide economic education and new perspectives that unite all working people, not just trade union members.

    Two proposals to build a broad and inclusive labor movement!

    U.S.working people, trade union organized and unorganized, must now unite to establish what FDR called “The Second Bill of Rights”, or “The Economic Bill of Rights”.

    An historic turning point in the U.S. to create a broad and inclusive labor movement could start in Los Angeles, September 8-12, at the AFL-CIO Convention.

    The AFL-CIO convention should implement these two proposals to fight back for the economic justice of all working people, not just organized workers, not just for “Middle Class” workers, not simply for a higher, capitalist approved, $15 hour
    minimum wage.

    The AFL-CIO today must realize that trade union labor contracts, by themselves, have failed to secure and maintain the economic justice of their members. Collective bargaining agreements only deal with wages and benefits with one employer. These labor contracts do not begin to cover other essential economic needs required by all working people, organized and especially unorganized. These economic needs are secured and maintained by laws passed by pro-labor law-makers, not by trade union contracts.

    New laws are now needed to maintain public (not privatized) education, establish universal “single-payer” (not “Obama-care”) health care, maintain (not cut) Social Security, create millions of “living wage” public sector jobs (which the private sector cannot provide) , etc. President Obama, both Democratic and Republican parties, are united in an economic class war that is creating barbaric economic inequality and impoverishment for working people in the U.S.

    1. A new Solidarity political party, to break with the corporate-corrupted Democratic Party, to powerfully unite all trade union and unorganized workers, which refuses all corporate money and agendas, will elect pro-labor law-makers as soon as possible in every local, State, and Federal election. The long-term goal of The Solidarity Party would be to build a new economy that provides a universal minimum “standard of living” for all working people.

    2. Pro-worker economic education for the public and all working people. The AFL-CIO must help sponsor, produce, and broadcast on a nightly PBS television, a news and commentary program promoting the economic betterment of working people. Corporate ownership and control of all mass media has indoctrinated, without any critical pro-worker opposition, an entire generation of viewers with pro-corporate anti-labor propaganda.

    Initially, the financial and people resources of the AFL-CIO will be needed to initiate these two proposals. Millions of new Solidarity Party voters, paying a minimal monthly dues, would easily fund the organizational needs. Fund-drives would provide on-going financial support of a pro-labor PBS program from viewers.

    The Solidarity Party will not be simply a “trade union party”, but fight for economic justice for all workers.. The PBS program must provide economic education and new perspectives that unite all working people, not just trade union members.

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