July 25, 2005

Labor Movement


From CNN: Teamsters, SEIU quit AFL-CIO.

The Teamsters and the Service Employees International Union voted Monday to withdraw from the AFL-CIO. The announcement came on the first day of the 50-year-old labor federation's annual meeting.

James Hoffa of the Teamsters and Andy Stern of SEIU told reporters they each notified AFL-CIO President John Sweeney on Monday morning in a letter after their executive boards unanimously agreed to disaffiliate.

"What John Sweeney has been doing has not been working and it's time to try something new," said Hoffa, general president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

He predicted to CNN that seven other international unions would soon bolt from the AFL-CIO and join the Teamsters.

"It is not done lightly. We have extended a number of propositions and ideas to the AFL-CIO to make sure that we could change the tide of the AFL-CIO.

"We have been disappointed over the last 10 years that we have seen a decline in membership," he said, referring to Sweeney's decade-long tenure as president. ...

The dissident unions have a combined membership of nearly 5 million workers -- about a third of the AFL-CIO's total membership. Their leaders have accused Sweeney of putting more money into political campaigns at the expense of union organizing.

From Robert Tracinski in today's TIA Daily:

Why do Democrats keep losing elections? The Marxist roots of their philosophy makes them dependent on the support of a dwindling number of pressure groups who accept the collectivist premise that individuals can only survive and prosper by banding together into a collective and demanding political power -- which happens to be a perfect description of the philosophy at the root of labor unions.

The problem? The unions have been dying for a long time, as they fell from representing 30% of private sector workers about a half century ago, to representing fewer than 8% of workers (not counting the massive government employee unions) today. Now the AFL-CIO is splitting apart as its members argue over how to resuscitate a collectivist movement in a culture that has refused to embrace collectivism.

Posted by Forkum at July 25, 2005 04:58 PM