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Sat Sep 7, 2013, 09:28 AM

 

A.F.L.-C.I.O. Has Plan to Add Millions of Nonunion Members

I love this idea ...


http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/07/business/afl-cio-has-plan-to-add-millions-of-nonunion-members.html

Richard L. Trumka, the president of the A.F.L.-C.I.O., has a bold plan to reverse organized labor’s long slide: let millions of nonunion workers — and perhaps environmental, immigrant and other advocacy groups — join the labor federation. When the labor federation holds its convention in Los Angeles beginning on Sunday, he will ask its delegates for a green light to pursue these ambitious reforms. Needless to say, some within the labor movement view them as heretical.

Mr. Trumka says he believes that if unions are having a hard time increasing their ranks, they can at least restore their clout by building a broad coalition to advance a worker-friendly political and economic agenda. He has called for inviting millions of nonunion workers into the labor movement even if their own workplaces are not unionized. Not stopping there, he has proposed making progressive groups — like the NAACP; the Sierra Club; the National Council of La Raza, a Hispanic civil rights group; and MomsRising, an advocacy group for women’s and family issues — either formal partners or affiliates of the A.F.L.-C.I.O.

“The crisis for labor has deepened,” Mr. Trumka said in an interview. “It’s at a point where we really must do something differently. We really have to experiment.”

By crisis, he means myriad setbacks, including a steady loss of union membership, frequent defeats in organizing drives and unions being forced to accept multiyear wage freezes. Not only have labor leaders faced the embarrassing enactment of anti-union legislation in onetime labor strongholds like Wisconsin and Michigan, but they could not even win passage of legislation making it easier to unionize when President Obama was elected and the Democrats controlled the House and Senate.

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Arrow 25 replies Author Time Post
Reply A.F.L.-C.I.O. Has Plan to Add Millions of Nonunion Members (Original post)
Scuba Sep 2013 OP
Recursion Sep 2013 #1
earthside Sep 2013 #2
Major Nikon Sep 2013 #15
mick063 Sep 2013 #3
Major Nikon Sep 2013 #18
mick063 Sep 2013 #19
global1 Sep 2013 #21
global1 Sep 2013 #4
Scuba Sep 2013 #5
JEB Sep 2013 #9
The Blue Flower Sep 2013 #12
global1 Sep 2013 #22
The Blue Flower Sep 2013 #23
global1 Sep 2013 #24
felix_numinous Sep 2013 #13
marble falls Sep 2013 #17
Gemini Cat Sep 2013 #6
vanlassie Sep 2013 #7
demmiblue Sep 2013 #8
B Calm Sep 2013 #10
CrispyQ Sep 2013 #11
markiv Sep 2013 #14
jwirr Sep 2013 #16
Lee-Lee Sep 2013 #20
Jesus Malverde Sep 2013 #25

Response to Scuba (Original post)

Sat Sep 7, 2013, 09:33 AM

1. Trumka floated this idea years ago

Not sure what's keeping AFL from just doing it, other than inertia. This is basically what the SEIU split was about, for that matter.

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Response to Scuba (Original post)

Sat Sep 7, 2013, 09:42 AM

2. Associated members.

I've thought for a long time that the labor movement, especially AFL-CIO needed to create a meaningful 'associated members' auxiliary.

I work for myself, I don't have a union I could join (except maybe the IWW), but I would absolutely join and pay even a nominal dues to a general union association to support organized labor.

Of course, how far are you away then from organized labor becoming its own political party or becoming an predominate influence in the Democratic Party? I'll bet that is why a lot of establishment 'corporate' Democrats aren't supportive of this idea.

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Response to earthside (Reply #2)

Sat Sep 7, 2013, 12:05 PM

15. My former union has an associate membership

When I left the bargaining unit I became ineligible for full voting union membership, but for $250 per year I remain an associate member and have done so ever since. I still get all the literature the union sends to regular members and I could attend most meetings if I wished (I don't).

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Response to Scuba (Original post)

Sat Sep 7, 2013, 09:47 AM

3. Proud member of the United Steelworkers here

 

Happy to pay my dues. Those dues pay for a political voice in Washington DC.


I despise the idea of full time professional lobbyists in general. What I despise even more is not employing one when one is employed against me.

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Response to mick063 (Reply #3)

Sat Sep 7, 2013, 12:22 PM

18. Until the Citizen's United decision, unions could not spend dues money on lobbyists

I'm not sure to what extent unions have funded lobbying with dues money since the Citizen's United decision. The very first PAC that was created was formed by a union. USW has a PAC as do all large and even some smaller unions which is generally the best way to fund union lobbying. I currently give $650 per year to a union PAC over and above dues money and have for many years. It's a worthwhile investment.

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Response to Major Nikon (Reply #18)

Sat Sep 7, 2013, 12:31 PM

19. I believe Jerry Falwell's "Moral Majority" is a good model for labor.

 

Workers need a voice in Washington.

Workers need to play by the current rule set unless the rules are changed.

This includes tactics such as offering employment to legislators, at the conclusion of their term, to serve as an inside voice. I despise the notion of this tactic and would rather see legislation to stop the blatant bribing of elected Representatives, but one must be pragmatic here. The laws will not change to stop such bribery. Hence we must use the current format to our advantage.

Unions may be the best outlet to represent workers in Washington DC. People that complain about union dues don't fully grasp this.


Edit: As noted in other posts within this thread, feel free to substitute association with union. A person forced to pay union dues has a legitimate right to oppose dues being spent on political lobbying of an agenda that may not align with his own. Associations are a brilliant idea as the dues are voluntary.

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Response to Major Nikon (Reply #18)

Sat Sep 7, 2013, 12:37 PM

21. Read My Post #4 Here - Don't Call This A Union - Call It An Association Just Like The NRA.....

I'm for what Trumka is trying to do - but unfortunately - like it or not - unions have kind of a negative image in many Americans minds. We need to change the dynamic and the moniker. Call it an association of workers and any rules or laws that were designed to keep unions down wouldn't apply. If Politicians then tried to legislate against an association of workers - that would also hurt the NRA which is an association and the NRA wouldn't stand for that.

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Response to Scuba (Original post)

Sat Sep 7, 2013, 10:23 AM

4. I Posted This Here Many Times Before - A National Workers Association - If This Is What Trumka Is...

thinking about I'm in complete agreement with him. If he can take even some of the ideas that I've posted below - this could be fantastic.

Here's my post of the idea and a link of all the responses this generated is below the text of this idea:

*The Time Is Right For A "National Workers Association"......

Given the fact that unions in the U.S. are taking hits and union membership is down and the power of unions has been diminished over the years since the Reagan presidency - I'm thinking that we need to look at the plight of the worker in the United States from a different perspective.

Right-to-work laws have contributed to the decreasing role of unions in the U.S. According to Wikipedia a right-to-work law is a statute in the United States of America that prohibits union security agreements, or agreements between labor unions and employers that govern the extent to which an established union can require employees' membership, payment of union dues, or fees as a condition of employment, either before or after hiring.

"Right-to-work" laws do not, as the short phrase might suggest, aim to provide a general guarantee of employment to people seeking work, but rather are a government regulation of the contractual agreements between employers and labor unions that prevents them from excluding non-union workers.

Because right-to-work laws have impacted the worker and workers rights, wages and unions in the U.S. then it seems to me that we have to come up with a different and new way of promoting workers rights in the U.S. I'm thinking that we need to model a workers rights organization after the National Rifle Association model. The NRA has become a formidable lobbying group for gun owners and proponents of gun rights. The NRA has done this with a membership of 4.3 million. With the population of the U.S. at approximately 312.8 million people this means the NRA membership is approximately 1.37% of the total population of the United States.

Note: This post is not about gun control nor does it have anything to do with the recent Newtown tragedy. This post is about 'workers rights'. Please don't make this a post about gun control - I simply am using the NRA as an example of an effective organization.

According to Wikipedia in June 2009 there were 306, 000, 000 people living in the United States of which there were about 155,000,000 people that are employed. This means that approximate 51% of the U.S. population would be classified as workers.

If we were able to form an organization of workers where workers would pay a membership fee to join - just like the NRA - and if we were able to convince about 26% of the work force to join - an organization of workers could have a membership of 40,000,000 people compared to 4,300,000 million members of the NRA or approximately a 10 fold increase over the number of members in the NRA. If the NRA has been able to become a formidable lobbying force in this country with 4.3 million members - just think what a National Workers Association could become with 40 million members.

Every worker or potential worker would be eligible to become a member of the NWA. Membership dues could be nominal at $35.00 per year per worker. That would net such an organization $1.4 billion dollars. Just think of the power that this amount of money would bring to lobbying for workers and promoting workers rights to combat the push back we as workers are getting from the corporations that are running this country.

Now what would this organization be called and what would it stand for. Here is my first attempt at trying to describe such and organization of workers:

Note: consider this a work in process.

"The National Workers Association of America (NWA) would be organized as an American non-profit 501(c)(4) lobbying group that advocates for the protection of working people in the United States, and the promotion of workers rights including the right to work; free choice of employment; just and favorable conditions of work and unemployment protection. The NWA would support the right to equal treatment, regardless of gender, origin and appearance, religion, sexual orientation. Equal pay for equal work; just and favorable remuneration ensuring the worker and his/her family an existence worthy of human dignity and the right to rest and leisure, with reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.

The NWA could have an education component and sponsor training courses in career building, skills training, resume composition, resume posting, interviewing skills and provide assistance with short term vocational training, supportive services to obtain GED placement, vocational rehabilitation. The NWA could provide members with a job registry including job search advice. The NWA would make available salary surveys/advice, human resource and unemployment assistance. It would also be a clearing house for programs that would provide workers career counseling and retraining for new careers. "


Again - looking at the NRA as an example of an effective organization - the NWA could have state and local chapters. It could initially be organized around current unions and they could immediately become the core of such an organization. The NWA could have local, state and national meetings. The NWA could have a monthly journal and newsletter and of course a website - complete with all the social networking tools that are available (i.e., Twitter, Facebook, etc). There could be specialty sections in the NWA that align around groups of workers (i.e., hotel workers; restaurant workers; plumbers; electricians; truckers; etc) in order to give all workers a voice.

The point being is that we as workers need someone to go to bat for us and we need to have the lobbying muscle to compete with the corporations. With the formation of an NWA - we would be going to bat for ourselves.

I'm tired of all the strong rhetoric that goes on before an election and then the 'bait and switch' weaseling that goes on after pols are elected. It's time that we organize and have and apply leverage in order to protect our interests. I'm thinking that our elected officials would take heed and listen to such an organization with such a voice.

I'm throwing this idea out there and am looking for some constructive criticism in the formation of such an entity. It seems to me that we can do anything that we set our mind to and a National Workers Association would go a long way in giving the common worker in the U.S. to prevent any additional erosion of "Jobs In America".

What do my fellow DU'ers out there think about this? Here's a link to the responses this got:

http://www.democraticunderground.com/10022032941

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Response to global1 (Reply #4)

Sat Sep 7, 2013, 10:31 AM

5. Thank you global1.

 

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Response to global1 (Reply #4)

Sat Sep 7, 2013, 11:13 AM

9. I like the sounds of this NWA.

 

I am self employed and would join in a second. Working class needs to organize to fit the new economy.

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Response to global1 (Reply #4)

Sat Sep 7, 2013, 11:40 AM

12. Have you sent this to Richard Trumka?

This idea should be widely circulated. In fact, it would be a great precursor to a Workers Party.

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Response to The Blue Flower (Reply #12)

Sat Sep 7, 2013, 12:38 PM

22. I Have No Idea As To How To Get This To Trumka.....

if you can do that I would appreciate that. Also if anyone want to take my Post #4 and Tweet it out there or put it on Facebook - that would be great too. Make it viral. There's a seed of an idea there that I think would be good for the workers of this country and maybe get workers on a more equal ground with corporations that are decimating the 99%er's in this country.

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Response to global1 (Reply #22)

Sat Sep 7, 2013, 12:49 PM

23. Send it to Ed Schultz

Ed has Trumka on regularly. Ask him to get it to Trumka. It's a very powerful concept and you've proposed it well.

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Response to The Blue Flower (Reply #23)

Sat Sep 7, 2013, 03:07 PM

24. I Tried To E-mal To Ed's Producer And It Got Kicked Back.....

if you can try and succeed that would be great. Thanks.

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Response to global1 (Reply #4)

Sat Sep 7, 2013, 11:48 AM

13. Very interesting global1

Thank you for posting this, and for everything you are doing!


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Response to global1 (Reply #4)

Sat Sep 7, 2013, 12:19 PM

17. About time. I'd would join the AFL-CIO again in a heart beat.

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Response to Scuba (Original post)

Sat Sep 7, 2013, 10:40 AM

6. This is a great idea.

I'd join. It's time for workers to stand in solidarity.

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Response to Scuba (Original post)

Sat Sep 7, 2013, 10:47 AM

7. Fucking brilliant. When my local DIY union managed

To beat out my SEIU union, I quit in disgust. They (local yokels) were not going to get my money. I would love to rejoin a REAL union again.

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Response to Scuba (Original post)

Sat Sep 7, 2013, 10:52 AM

8. I would proudly join! K&R

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Response to Scuba (Original post)

Sat Sep 7, 2013, 11:17 AM

10. K&R

 

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Response to Scuba (Original post)

Sat Sep 7, 2013, 11:30 AM

11. I completely agree with these statements:

Gary N. Chaison, an industrial relations professor at Clark University, said: “Unions are thrashing around looking for answers. It just might prove successful from the very fact that there is great desperation to it. There’s a sense that this is make-or-break time for labor. Either major things are done, or it will be too late to resuscitate the labor movement.”


Hell yeah.


Underlying all this strategizing is a sense that if unions are ever to reverse their decline, they will have to somehow inspire Americans to engage in collective action again. “You can’t solve the problems of the labor movement or the progressive movement until you restore the belief in collective power,” said Karen Nussbaum, executive director of Working America, an A.F.L.-C.I.O. affiliate that mobilizes nonunion workers during elections.



American workers better wake up!

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Response to Scuba (Original post)

Sat Sep 7, 2013, 12:02 PM

14. potential dillution of wage and working condition priorities

 

SEIU is a perfect example - they lobby hard for a guest worker program. it would make life easier for their undocumented membership

but it dillutes the labor pool overall, which hurts wage and working conditions - it's Econ 101

the original issues of wage and working conditions were 100 percent clear and legitimate - it solved the disadvantage of united management against divided labor

buy when you add priorities, what was once priority may no longer be.

you can easily explain to a union worker why wages and working conditions are in his/her interest

but what if he/she disagrees with the other priorities? is he/she then told what to think and to shut up?

it's not that the other issues dont matter, and many union members may want to support those causes via multiple memnerships, many already do

but it should be choice - otherwise, some workers may wonder why they support their union at all

this risks the union becoming just another United Way - an organization of bundled issues elbowing itself into the workplace, a bundle of priorities that while the worker may agree with some of them, they might disagree with other and they had NO SAY in any of them. but he/she has to 'pony up'......or else

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Response to Scuba (Original post)

Sat Sep 7, 2013, 12:10 PM

16. If I am not mistaken they did this some time ago and a non-union member could join and pay a

small amount of dues. This may be the way to strengthen the union and involve others who are interested in the fight. I am.

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Response to Scuba (Original post)

Sat Sep 7, 2013, 12:33 PM

20. I like it a lot, especially having had a job where collective bargaining was banned

 

It would allow for at least something.

And I live the alignment with other groups. That is key to organizing to gain an keep power. Quit hiding what organized labor is all about politically, endorse all things and groups good for workers.

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Response to Scuba (Original post)

Sat Sep 7, 2013, 03:21 PM

25. Didn't the AFL-CIO get outed as a group working with the CIA to destroy unions?

In latin america?


With the revolutionary developments in Cuba, the AFL-CIO, the US Government and the biggest transnational corporations saw the need for an efficiently operating mechanism among Latin American unions. They created the AIFLD by 1962. A US Comptroller General's report says "In May 1961 the AFL-CIO approached private foundations, business men, and government agencies to seek financing for the planned Institute". One of the foundations it applied to was the Michigan Fund, identified by Congressional sources as a conduit for CIA money. AIFLD found welcome open pockets in the business group. George Meany, President of the AFL-CIO and also of AIFLD, boasted support from the "largest corporations in the United States . . . Rockefeller, ITT, Kennecott, Standard Oil, Shell Petroleum . . . Anaconda, even Readers Digest. . . and although some of these companies have no connection whatsoever to US trade unions, they are all agreed that it was really in the US interest to help develop free trade unions in Latin America, and that's why they contributed so much money".


http://www.archive.org/stream/AnAnalysisOfOurAfl-cioRoleInLatinAmericaOrUnderTheCoversWithThe/Hirsh3_djvu.txt

U.S. Labor Reps. Conspired to Overthrow Elected Governments in Latin America
http://www.laboreducator.org/darkpast4.htm

i haven't been following them lately but my sense is they are the "establishment" union. One need only look at results...

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