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Unformatted text preview: wmen wmes I'M E UIUwm or LIOUL! -- In IIICSC lanes rage i of y Features> March 24, 2005 W hich C om es First : Growth o r Clout? Unions debate strategy at the spring AFL-CIO Executive Counci l meeting By DAVID MOBERG What' s more important right no w for the embattled labor movement , politics or organizing ? At the spring meeting of the AFL- CIO executive council in Las Vegas, debate over this long- standing strategic conundrum too k center stage, where it will remai n until the federation's potentiall y tumultuous July convention . But posing the question this way oversimplifies undercurrents of th e conflict that are rooted i n personalities, institutional powe r and unions' different experiences in different industries. The current internal debate was triggered last November by Service Employee s International Union (SEIU) President Andy Stem . At its heart, Stem's 10-point pla n aims to spark an organizing renewal by dramatically restructuring the labor movemen t into fewer, bigger unions based on core industries or occupations . The Laborers, UFCW (food and commercial workers), Teamsters, and UNITE HERE (a merger o f apparel and hotel unions) allied with SEIU . Most other unions—despite often starkl y different strategies—have united behind AFL-CIO President John Sweeney (o r sometimes, more precisely, against the provocative Stem) . Sweeney has responded with his own plan that partly addresses Stern's challenges — and has been derided as `Stem lite'—but puts more emphasis on politics . Sweene y came out on top at Las Vegas, when the Executive Committee—an advisory group o f top labor leaders without formal power—voted 15 to 7 to reject a Teamsters' proposal that would have rebated half of AFL-CIO dues payments back to affiliated unions tha t spend to percent of their budgets, and at least $2 million a year, on organizing. The committee endorsed Sweeney's proposal to allocate half of the dues paid to the AFL- CIO for political work . The unions favoring the Teamster proposal, and who claim t o represent 40 percent of federation members, vowed to fight on . http://www .inthesetimes.com/site/main/article/2036/ 7/3/2006 wmcn comes rust: urowm or clout/ -- ID lnese limes rage to t 4 Labor leaders agree, at least rhetorically, that the AFL-CIO should focus equally o n politics and organizing, priorities that John Wilhelm, then president of HERE and no w a potential challenger to Sweeney, forcefully promoted five years ago. But within the AFL-CIO there are clear differences of emphasis . For example, some manufacturing unions feel that global pressures overwhelm them...
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This document was uploaded on 10/31/2011 for the course 575 101 at Rutgers.
- Fall '11