Sunday, 20 July 2008

American unions reconcile to support Obama

American unions are setting aside their differences in order to help get Barack Obama get elected. There is even speculation that some of the so-called ‘breakaway unions’ might rejoin the AFL-CIO federation after election day, reports Steven Greenhouse in the New York Times.
In 2005, a number of unions headed by services union SEIU quit the AFL-CIO because they thought the federation was not doing enough to organise new workers. Despite the split, they kept collaborating at the local level and on some political campaigns.
Currently, they are intensifying their political collaboration, especially in swing states where unions are strong: Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. In addition, they have joined forces to mobilise one million workers for the passage of the Employee Free Choice Act, which would make it easier to organise workers.
According to some sources, the Laborers and the United Food and Commercial Workers are considering to rejoin the AFL-CIO, provided that the federation makes some changes. Other unions such as the SEIU, Unite Here and the Teamsters would be more critical.
There would be talk of trying to have the current president of the Laborers, Terence O’Sullivan, succeed John Sweeney as president of the AFL-CIO.
Source: New York Times

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