June 12, 2005


AFL-CIO Closer to Breaking Up: SEIU Board Authorizes Union Leaders to Quit Federation (Thomas B. Edsally, June 12, 2005, Washington Post)

The Service Employees International Union yesterday took the first concrete step toward breaking up the AFL-CIO, the nation's central labor federation.

The SEIU executive board, at a meeting in San Francisco, authorized union leaders to quit the federation. As many as four other unions -- the Teamsters, the United Food and Commercial Workers, Unite Here and the Laborers -- could follow suit, pulling out 5 million of the AFL-CIO's 13 million members.

The conflict could become a major battle at the AFL-CIO convention at the end of July in Chicago, with both camps so angry that prospects for a peaceful resolution appear unlikely.

Democratic Party officials have privately voiced deep concern over the struggles within the AFL-CIO, which has become a mainstay of the party both financially and in voter-turnout drives.

It's easy to envision the older industrial unions drifting into the GOP orbit.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 12, 2005 8:57 AM

Really? I thought knee-jerk protectionism was a Democratic prerogative.

As I think you've said yourself, advanced economies don't build stuff...

Posted by: Anthony Perez-Miller at June 12, 2005 12:40 PM

Oh, boy, July in Chicago.

Shades of 68, union thugs beating up on other union thugs?

Posted by: Sandy P. at June 12, 2005 12:44 PM


They, perforce, support oil exploration, building nuclear plants, military spending, etc.

Posted by: oj at June 12, 2005 1:29 PM

Laborers are going to re-evaluate and move to which ever political group comes up with pension reform and real pension guarantees that can't be lost.

Posted by: oldkayaker at June 12, 2005 2:18 PM

The union structure is far from monolithic. Public sector and private sector unions have different goals. Teamsters don't have a lot in common with autoworkers and neither has much in common with service workers. What benefit do workers in defense plants get from unions which oppose defense spending?

And who in the Labor Movement should waste one second's time on 'social issues?'

Posted by: bart at June 12, 2005 4:19 PM

The AFL-CIO joining forces with the GOP? Jimmy Hoffa just be rolling in his grave. Or graves.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at June 12, 2005 8:16 PM

Raoul remember, the Teamsters supported Richard Nixon in '72 on Hoffa's watch. He was much more likely to work with Republicans than the UAW, AFL-CIO types.

OJ, I don't see the industrial unions going that way soon but I could see the craft unions wavering over time. They are always going to be sensitive to whichever party awards construction projects.

Posted by: jeff at June 12, 2005 8:39 PM

As Democrats become more beholden to envoronmentalists and anti-business ideologues the GOP will be the only party willing to build big.

Posted by: oj at June 12, 2005 9:00 PM

The Teamsters have often flirted with the GOP.

Posted by: oj at June 12, 2005 9:01 PM

The industrial unions will be following their industries into the trash can of history. How many working Steelworkers are there? Next up the UAW.

The craft unions are already over the line. I know that the craft unions in Ohio are Republican. The Democrats are just not enough of a factor to make a difference.

The Government worker unions may hold out for a while, but if the Democrats succeed in making themselves a permanent minority, they will be useless to the Government unions which will either have to change sides, or be shut down.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at June 12, 2005 10:22 PM