On Monday we asked our readers what we can do together to make a better future for working people and to build a bigger and stronger movement. We need to know what you think because our 2013 AFL-CIO Convention will focus on how the labor movement should change and what we can do together to improve the future of all working people.
Your response has been tremendous. Nearly 300 of you have gone to our AFL-CIO Convention discussion page and told us what you think has to be done to give working families a better deal. Further below are excerpts from some of your suggestions and thoughts.
We’ve posed the same question to visitors on our Facebook page and here’s what they have to say.
Also Daily Kos labor editor Laura Clawson hosted our first live chat on how we build a better and stronger movement for working people. Other chats with activists, academics, journalists and others will take place through June. We’ll keep you posted on the dates and times.
Young members need to be organized on college campuses…A recent paper from Industrial and Labor Relations Review cites the fact that the highest rate of unionization takes place one year after a young person graduates from a degree-granting institution…The AFL-CIO must be able to heed their call in food courts and quads across the nation. As our generation is more highly skilled and educated than our parents (yet doggedly underemployed), we're itching and yearning for the job stability that unions bring.
The AFL-CIO needs to stop giving money to the Democratic Party, period. In the past, it may have made sense to grease the wheel of the "lesser evil"…The AFL-CIO should also stop prioritizing effecting change at the ballot box. Buying into the idea that the ballot is the only place to realize change is playing into the hands of the business interests that have bought both major parties. Use the funds you would have donated to the Democratic Party to dramatically expand Working America and get the millions of unemployed youth and underemployed union members in this country out into the streets and vibrating walls.
I think the best way to improve the lot of workers is to keep an eye on the larger picture. We have a two-party system: the Democrats and the Republicans. While both parties can be frustrating, it is clear that efforts to improve the lives of the middle-class, lower-income Americans and workers are only possible when Democrats are in power. So, I think there has to be a sustained commitment to electing Democrats and defeating Republicans...At the same time, I think there has to be an equally strong commitment to making sure the Democrats are a truly progressive party, which they not always are.
I think unions will only grow when they become part of a larger social and political movement. I think the Occupy Wall Street movement is a great start, but I believe the labor movement should follow the worker home from the job. Union values should be taught at home. Families and communities need to be educated and committed to the cause.
Contracts, contracts, contracts. Train new young talent—30- and 40-somethings. You have plenty of old talent that has gone to bat with the big boys for decades—the GEs, the Lockheed Martins, the big MNCs of the world. Now Lockheed and others are turning out young talent to bust the unions at an alarming pace! Train my generation and younger generations what it means to bargain at the table effectively, how to bargain, and get this young talent practicing early and paying it forward! Hire them from Harvard. Hire them from bargaining units. But hire them!