Sunday, July 20, 2008

AFL-CIO and CtW getting to the table?

By Joel Wendland

New York Times labor reporter Steven Greenhouse reported yesterday that the elections have the leaderships of the AFL-CIO and the Change to Win federation talking.

Here's what he says:

In a series of dinners and meetings in Washington, the presidents of several breakaway unions and the presidents of several federation unions have been mapping strategies to help elect Senator Barack Obama and forge joint policies on trade and other issues.

Several union officials involved in the meetings said the leaders had also discussed overhauling the A.F.L.-C.I.O. to address the concerns of some breakaway unions, with the aim of persuading some to rejoin.

It is the need to defeat the Republicans in the November elections that has brought both sides together:
...eager for the Democrats to win the White House and increase their majorities in Congress, the union presidents are trying to maximize their political cooperation, especially in swing states where unions are strong: Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Greenhouse also reports that local union organizations from both federations have continued to work together despite the split on a variety of things from political action and elections to organizing campaigns.

The article goes on to cite labor leaders who believe that after the election struggle, talks may turn to reunification.

For once the big media hasn't tried to exploit differences among workers and their organized leadership. Good article, and important developments.