Julie with a B

Friday, July 29, 2005
Labor Union split
I commented a little while ago (see end of May/June 1 post) that I thought labor unions were still useful, but they had become too big and topheavy to be responsive to the labor groups that needed them. The current split in the AFL-CIO is an interesting thing. There have been discussions of a "power grab", but really it was about philosophy - one group thinks gaining new members is more relevant, the other feels that political clout is more relevent. I think the real answer is what are you doing for your members? Why should they belong to your union? Many smaller unions get rolled up into the bigger ones. This is the "we have more clout for you" idea. Yet what actually happens is that the issues for the smaller unions are not listened to. They are told to pay their dues and just go along, because whats good for labor is good for all of us. Yet when contracts are up for renewal and bargaining power is needed, where are the guys with the clout? Often no where to be seen and unavailable for help.
I hope that what we see is further breakdown in these mammoth groups. Unions can be incredible but only when they are listening to what their members need and not when the leadership has created a behemoth group with a mind all its own.


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