Labor Reunification Probably Not Imminent
May 7 2010, 2:35 PM ET
There was significant talk last year that the labor movement might reunify--that unions would re-affiliate with the AFL-CIO after having split to form a rival federation, Change to Win, in 2005. Now could be a critical moment in this process.
The man who led the 2005 schism, Service Employees International Union President Andy Stern, is retiring. SEIU will elect its new president tomorrow, and by all indications it will be Mary Kay Henry, an SEIU executive vice president--the only person running for the position.
Henry, however, yesterday sent a note of solidarity--or assuagement--to Change to Win's leadership board, informing them a reafilliation with AFL-CIO is not, in fact, about to happen.
"SEIU has had no discussion about returning to the AFL-CIO," Henry wrote. "SEIU remains strongly committed to our relationship with our Change to Win partners and we look forward to strengthening those relationships in weeks and months to come." Here's a .pdf of the letter: Mary Kay Henry letter.PDF
In other words: we're not going to jump ship right now.
That doesn't mean it won't happen, eventually. Formal talks were opened last year, involving the heads of multiple unions, and while that formal dialogue has officially stalled, there may be behind-the-scenes chatter going on. Henry could still engage in a multilateral discussion process, as time goes on.
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