Delegates to the AFL-CIO Convention in September approved a resolution declaring that one of the federation’s “top priorities [is] a Southern Strategy that will include a long-term commitment to organize the South.” Recently, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution took a look at union organizing efforts in the South and talked to a number of labor leaders. Here are some excerpts.
The 2013 AFL-CIO National Convention marked a historic opening in the labor movement and signaled a commitment to diversity, new partnerships and new ideas to transform the labor movement that has been in a steady decline the past 30 years. In representing the UCLA Labor Center, I served on the Committee on Growth, Innovation and Political Action, one of the many pre-convention committees. During this committee process, labor leaders, academic partners and worker center leaders met and created resolutions that focused on new opportunities for worker centers to affiliate into central labor councils, new organizing strategies for AFL-CIO affiliates, labor law reform, immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship and other innovative themes.
In the first of many concrete moves after the AFL-CIO passed a resolution at its national convention to create new and lasting community partnerships to open and broaden the labor movement, the federation announced today that it entered a new national partnership with United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS). The primary goals of the new alliance are to strengthen workers' rights and build power for students and workers. One of the major themes of the national convention was the need for the AFL-CIO to make the labor movement more open and to forge stronger alliances with non-labor groups, and this is the first step down that path.
The AFL-CIO quadrennial 2013 convention in Los Angeles was a flurry of exciting activity that promises to remake the labor movement in the United States and build a movement for all working people to deal with the new challenges and political landscape working families must navigate. While there were many important discussions and plans made at the convention that will be expanded on in the coming months and years, here are 10 important initiatives that came out of the resolutions passed by the convention delegates that you should know about.
The role of art in amplifying workers' voices, as well as changing perceptions about worker movements, got a great display in Los Angeles recently. This slideshow highlights some examples (view the full slideshow).
Two themes prevailed at the AFL-CIO's global convention held in Los Angeles. The first was a deep indignation over the unbridled growth of corporate interest and money power in American politics. The second was a quieter understanding that the unions that once anchored people power in this country must reinvent themselves to survive. That reinvention depends on a new awareness among America's workers that their fate is bound to the fate of workers worldwide.
In his Friday edition of the Texas AFL-CIO News, Ed Sills the state federation’s communications director, points out two articles of interest you may have missed on the labor movement’s southern organizing strategy and a lifetime achievement award for poet and former UAW member Philip Levine.
Bankruptcy is being used by corporations—and now even by entire cities—as a sword to cut themselves free from legal obligations to workers who earned their pensions and retirement health care benefits. Wednesday’s action session “Bankrupting Retirement: Retirement Security and Bankruptcy as an Employer Strategy” at the 2013 AFL-CIO Convention convened four seasoned veterans of the battle to protect workers from a bankruptcy code skewed in favor of corporations. The discussion was moderated by Brandon Rees, acting director of the AFL-CIO Office of Investment.