The Labor Reform Movement

Delegates Must Challenge Trumka at Convention

By Harry Kelber | The American Labor Reform Movement | February 15, 2013

Whatever actions the 49 VPs. on the Executive Council take is not reviewed by an independent committee. The rank-and-file know almost nothing about how their dues money is being spent. The Council, in practice, acts like a private corporation, but investors, (union members) are kept in the dark on what’s going on.

It is symptomatic of the AFL-CIO leaderships that they pay such little effort to publicize the strict Ethical Practices Committee that were enacted at the time of the merger… Continue reading

Why Did The EPC Never Rebuke Labor Leaders who illegally Profited from a Phony Tax Deal?

By Harry Kelber | The American Labor Reform Movement | February 5, 2013

Was it the usual incompetence of the AFL-CIO Outreach as to why it took three days in providing information as to who is chairman of the Ethical Practices Committee (EPC) — and failed to come up with an accurate answer?

Or was it because charges had been filed against AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka who fraudulently — and secretly — used a scheme to guarantee his re-election and deprive other union members… Continue reading

By Thomas Hedges, Center for Study of Responsive Law | Feb 5, 2013

Longtime labor activist Harry Kelber will oppose incumbent Richard Trumka for the presidency of the AFL-CIO at the group’s convention in Los Angeles in September. Kelber feels an obligation to challenge a president who, he says, is pursuing wealth and prestige rather than the true ideals of labor activism.

Kelber contends that under Trumka’s leadership, the AFL-CIO has failed to address the mounting threat against labor in the United States from the loss of bargaining rights to the refusal to adjust minimum wage standards to the push… Continue reading

By locking up a majority of the convention votes for top positions IN ADVANCE, the Trumka Group can’t lose at the convention.

By Harry Kelber | The American Labor Reform Movement | February 2, 2013

It may seem puzzling to union members, but with the AFL-CIO’s 2013 Convention in Los Angeles only eight months away, no top officer and member of the Executive Council has announced that he or she plans to run for re-election. Don’t be fooled. They are hungry for re-election.

And just about all of them have bought into an illegal plan devised by Trumka to win… Continue reading

Must We Wait Until AFL-CIO Fades Away? Or Is It Time to Create a New Labor Center Like the CIO Successfully Did 80 Years Ago?

By Harry Kelber | The American Labor Reform Movement | January 29, 2013

With the loss of 400,000 union members in only one year — 2012 we are witnessing the final stages in the collapse of the AFL-CIO.

The evidence of its growing irrelevance is clear enough. It did not mobilize its members in a national campaign to fight against the corporate-right-wing offensive to cripple unions in Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan and several other Republican-controlled states.… Continue reading

Why Can’t They Debate the Issues That Are of Deep Concern to Working People?

By Harry Kelber | The American Labor Reform Movement | January 24, 2013

For decades, AFL-CIO Presidents have been elected without having to state where they stand on the issues that affect working people. That is true of the 2009 election, where many of the delegates did not know the candidates whom they voted for.


Delegates from State AFL, Central Labor Councils and Local Unions must have the same voting rights as those from International Unions.

Here are… Continue reading

Trumka’s Pay Jumped from $165,000 to $293,750; He Has a 60% Life-Time Pension When He Retires

By Harry Kelber | The American Labor Reform Movement | January 21, 2013

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka increased his salary from 1995, when he earned $165,000 as secretary-treasurer, to $293,750, which he began earning after becoming AFL-CIO president in 2009. This amounts to a 23 percent wage increase in little more than a dozen years.

In addition, Trumka receives a 60% pension, which means that when he retires, he will get three-fifths of his highest wage for the rest of his life in weekly… Continue reading

Why Did The EPC Never Rebuke Labor Leaders who illegally Profited from a Phony Tax Deal?

By Harry Kelber | The American Labor Movement | January 18, 2013

Was it the usual incompetence of the AFL-CIO Outreach three days in providing information as to who is chairman of the Ethical Practices Committee (EPC) — and failed to come up with an accurate answer?

Or was it because charges had been filed against AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka who fraudulently — and secretly — used a scheme to guarantee his re-election and deprive other union members of the right to run for… Continue reading

60 Million Soldiers and Civilians Died in World War !!

By Harry Kelber | The American Labor Reform Movement | December 23, 2012

President Barack Obama vowed that he would make gun control a "central issue," promising to submit broad new firearm proposals to Congress in January, at the start of his new term in office.

He made his pledge to grieving parents in an emotionally-charged speech at a memorial service for the 20 children who were massacred at their elementary school in Newtown, Conn.

To add emphasis to his pledge, Obama said: "In the coming weeks, I will use… Continue reading

Labor’s Defeat Came in a State with a Strong Union Movement

By Harry Kelber | The American Labor Reform Movement | December 18, 2012

Organized Labor suffered a stunning defeat, when the Republican governor of Michigan, Rick Snyder, made a last-minute switch to endorse and sign a "Right-to-Work" bill.

What was surprising to many union officials is that the anti-labor measure was passed in the home state of the powerful United Auto Workers Union, and long considered the birthplace of modern unionism.

Protesters hold a silent protest in Lansing, Mich., Wednesday, a day after thousands of protesters rallied on the… Continue reading

Do Republicans have A blueprint for a shrunken government?

By Harry Kelber | The American Labor Reform Movement | December 14, 2012

The Republicans say that the federal and state governments spend too much of taxpayers’ money on programs that are costly and wasteful. A smaller government could increase people’s income and help to reduce the national deficit.

Try to imagine what a smaller federal government would look like: fewer cops on the beat; a big reduction in the delivery of mail; the firing of thousands of teachers; fewer doctors and nurses in our hospitals; a shortage of buses and… Continue reading

They Need Higher Pay to Survive in New York City

By Harry Kelber | The American Labor Reform Movement | December 12, 2 012

Hundreds of workers in New York City’s, fast-food restaurants voluntarily walked off their jobs .on Nov. 29 in a 1-day strike, the first time such joint action has happened in the industry.

In many instances, the spontaneous work stoppage began at 11:30 a.m., during the mid-day rush lunch hour, when customers were lining up to be served. Fast-food workers joined the strike. from McDonald’s, Burger King, Domino’s, Wendy’s, Pizza Hut and just about every well-known fast-food… Continue reading

What Protection Do We Have Against Misleading Figures?

By Harry Kelber | The American Labor Reform Movement | December 7, 2012

President Obama last week called for $1.6 trillion in increased tax revenue over a 10-year period in negotiations with the Republicans. What is $1.6 trillion? How was it arrived at? Can Obama explain it? And how accurate is it in predicting the future amount of tax revenue?

Let’s look at the right side of the equation. Why 10 years? What happens to the calculations if there is a disaster like Hurricane Sandy in five years or another major economic… Continue reading

40 organizers are assigned to help unionizing drive

By Harry Kelber | The American Labor Reform Movement | December 4, 2012

At 11:30 a.m., on November 29, the start of the lunch-hour rush, about 100 raucous protesters swarmed Burger King. near New York City’s Penn Station, chanting and holding up signs decrying low wages at the restaurant and similar eating places.

A protester holds a sign during a demonstration outside a Burger King restaurant in support of fast-food employees on strike in New York.(Photo : Reuters)

This is the first time that food workers have ever joined together in a… Continue reading

Trumka Supports the President’s Plan to Cut the Deficit

By Harry Kelber | The American Labor Reform Movement | November 30, 2012

Democrats in Congress are divided on how to deal with the problem of cutting the federal budget deficit, which President Obama has made a top priority for his second-term agenda.

Liberal Democrats want a bold blueprint that spares social programs from big spending cuts and provides a sharp counterpoint to the G.O.P.’s proposal, which includes a dramatic revamping of Medicare and Medicaid.

But others in the Party see significant spending cuts as necessary to get a deal with… Continue reading

To Gain Jobs, They Must Fight for Them

By Harry Kelber | The American Labor Reform Movement | November 9, 2012

It is one of the paradoxes of life that the jobs campaigns by the AFL-CIO and its affiliates have been led by fully-employed union members, without a single jobless worker in a leadership role.

One would expect that with millions of people unable to find decent jobs, Congress would be besieged by tens of thousands of angry, frustrated groups and individuals who were demanding action.

Yet, surprisingly, the unemployed have remained largely silent and have hardly complained publicly about… Continue reading

Politicians Expect Many Challenges to the Winner

By Harry Kelber | The American Labor Reform Movement | November 5, 2012

One day before the actual election, there is still considerable debate between those who favors the Electoral College 270 vote system to elect a U.S. president and those who feel that the White House should go to the candidate who receives the most votes.

Under the U.S. Constitution, Congress allots each State the number of Electors to which it is entitled. The 12th Amendment provides that each Elector cast one vote for President and one for Vice President. Since there… Continue reading

It Offers Advantages, But There Are Hidden Costs

By Harry Kelber | The American Labor Movement | October 25, 2012

A reverse mortgage is a loan available to home owners of retirement age, enabling them to access a portion of their home’s equity. The home owners can draw the principal in a lump sum or by receiving monthly payments over a specified term or over their (joint) lifetimes, as a revolving line of credit or some combination of these options.

In a reverse mortgage, the home owner is under no obligation to make payments, but is free to do so,… Continue reading

Lockout Continues Until Workers Agree to Wage Cuts and Benefits

By Harry Kelber | The American Labor Reform Movement | October 23, 2012

A lockout is the opposite of a strike, initiated by the employer. Ask a pro-football or basketball player and they will describe what it is to be "locked out." What you should know is that lockouts have been growing in frequency and have become a smart employer’s’ strategy to compel their work force to grant concessions in wages and benefits.

How does it work? The employer simply shuts down the factory or its targeted institution until its… Continue reading

Their Aim Is to Persuade Indecisive People to Vote

By Harry Kelber | The American Labor Movement | October 19, 2012

Both the Democratic and Republican Election Campaign Committees are invading the privacy of millions of Americans, using in-depth research to determine the habits, social values and economic circumstances of people they call "low-propensity voters" -that refers to a massive number who have not yet decided whether or not to vote.

Armed with lots of personal data, volunteers are visiting workers in their homes or at their job sites to make a face-to-face pitch on why they should vote -and,… Continue reading

Workers Protest Austerity with Strikes and Sitdowns

By Harry Kelber | The American Labor Reform Movement | October 15, 2012

Whether you are in France, Nigeria, Slovakia, Spain or Bangladesh, unions and their unemployed members are fighting hard against their government’s belt-tightening "austerity" wage and tax policies. They are using rallies, marches, strikes, sitdowns and other actions to demand jobs.

They are also fighting for the right to form and join unions, for freedom of speech and for a "living wage " using extraordinary actions, such as shutting down factories, holding plant managers as hostages, reducing a town’s electricity, blocking… Continue reading

Nurses Spark Wide Support in U.S. Unions and Abroad

By Harry Kelber | The American labor Movement | October 12 , 2012

The bankers and financial investors on Wall Street will have an opportunity to compensate the American people for creating an economic crisis that caused millions of people to lose their jobs and homes.

The solution is contained in the "Inclusive Prosperity Tax Act", a 0.5% tax on the trading of stocks and less rates on bonds, derivatives and currencies. It could raise up to $350 billion in annual revenue and could be used to rebuild Main Street communities… Continue reading

AFL-CIO Is Silent as Spending Cuts Imperil One Million Jobs

By Harry Kelber | The American Labor Reform Movement | October 3, 2012

No matter who wins the presidential elections, 160 million Americans will probably see their tax bills jump after Jan.1.That’s when the temporary payroll tax "holiday" expires.

That would mean a loss of income of about $95 billion for U.S. families in 2013 alone.

The original point of the payroll tax extension was to stimulate consumer spending and aid middle-class households. But now, Congress says it needs the money as it struggles with vast deficits and believes the… Continue reading

AFL-CIO Is Unprepared to Fight for Key Worker Programs

By Harry Kelber | The American Labor Reform Movement | October 2, 2012

Dozens of pro-worker programs will be crippled or eliminated early in 2013. The AFL-CIO still does not know which programs will be affected.

There are strong indications that the $1 trillion automatic spending cuts, negotiated by President Obama and G.O.P.’s John Boehner, House Speaker, will affect Medicare, Medicaid and many projects that serve the poor, sick and elderly, but no definite list of spending cuts has been released.

Fortunately, there is some good news to calm jittery program… Continue reading

Is His Love for America or for More Money and Power?

By Harry Kelber | The American Labor Reform Movement | September 21, 2012

No one questions Mitt Romney’s love for America. As the Republican candidate for U.S. President, he has made countless speeches on how, if elected, he would continue making the United States the greatest country in the world.

With Romney in the White House, our military power would be so formidable, that no nation on earth would dare to challenge us, he assures us

America has been generous to Romney. It has made him the governor of… Continue reading

Use Home and Workplace Visits to Talk Union

By Harry Kelber | AMERICAN LABOR REFORM MOVEMENT | September 20, 2012

For decades, Democratic candidates for public office have sought the thousands of volunteers that unions would supply during the election season. These unpaid workers would make home visits and also talk to workers at the job sites in praise of their candidates. They were also assigned to phone banks and leaflet distribution centers.

The sharpest volunteers found time to promote union principles and values and some actually had their hosts sign union application cards. Eventually, some unions insisted that volunteers… Continue reading

350,000 Students Are Idled by Strike of 26,000 Teachers

By Harry Kelber | The American Labor Reform Movement | September 13, 2012

BULLETIN: Chicago Teachers Strike to go into its Fifth Day. No classes on Friday.

After three days of negotiating, the union and the Chicago Board of Education showed no hint of an imminent settlement.

Union officials continued to play down the chances of a quick resolution of the dispute, which centers on the district’s proposed new teacher evaluation process and a policy of rehiring teachers that have been laid off.

As the teachers walk the picket lines.… Continue reading

12 Southern States Have Less Than 10% in Members

By Harry Kelber | The American Labor Reform Movement | September 12, 2012

The AFL-CIO and its affiliates are spending tens of millions of dollars to elect Obama for a second term, but, with a few exceptions, they are paying very little attention to building their own unions.

It is not at all clear what they will gain if Obama wins the White House. They received far less than they expected from Obama after he won in 2008.

AFL-CIO leaders should worry what happens to their affiliates after the election, when… Continue reading

To Keep Our Jobs, We Must Improve Our Skills

By Harry Kelber | The American Labor Reform Movement | September 10, 2012

It is no longer science fiction to believe that industrial robots are now being created and trained to perform any production job that American workers have traditionally done.

Typical applications of industrial robots include welding, painting, pick -and -place (such as packaging, inspecting, and testing), all accomplished with high endurance, speed and precision.

Some robots are programmed to perform specific actions repetitively, without variation and with a high degree of accuracy. These actions are determined by instructing the… Continue reading

Why Shouldn’t We Know How Our Dues-Money Is Spent?

By Harry Kelber | THE AMERICAN LABOR REFORM MOVEMENT | August 28, 2012

Despite repeated requests, the AFL-CIO has refused to supply union members with even a single report about how our dues-money is being spent.

Why can’t we get this information? Our officials won’t bother to answer. And they’ve been getting away with keeping us in the dark about the AFL-CIO’s financial assets and investments for years.

Some time ago, the I.A.M. printed a document that showed the AFL-CIO had sunk more than $40 million to keep the National Labor… Continue reading

Unions Are Being Pressed to Make Concessions

By Harry Kelber | The Labor Reform Movement | August 22, 2012

Unions are still looking in vain for an AFL-CIO battle plan to confront the Republican-rightwing attacks that are compelling many of them to make deep concessions in wages, benefits and working conditions to avoid massive layoffs.

The recent Caterpillar-Machinists contract, with its six-year freeze on wages and pensions, plus a $1,000 boost in employee healthcare premiums, should have sounded alarm bells at AFL-CIO headquarters in Washington, D.C. But it did not. And we’ll explain why.

Except for resistance from a few… Continue reading

A Six-Year Freeze on Wages, Pensions–and More Strikers Accept Doubling of Healthcare Premiums

By Harry Kelber | The American Labor Reform Movement | August 20, 2012

Caterpillar and the International Association of Machinists announced on August 15 that they had reached a tentative six-year agreement that could end a 15-week strike at the company’s hydraulic parts plant in Joliet, Illinois. The agreement contains a six-year freeze on wages and pensions, among other concessions that Caterpillar wanted, including a $1,000 extra increase per employee to the healthcare fund.

Caterpillar’s hard-fisted demands were not driven because of financial "bottom line" insecurity. On… Continue reading

G.O.P.’s Election Gamble Is to Cut Government Spending

By Harry Kelber | The American Labor Reform Movement | August 17, 2012

Harry Kelber

Herry Kelber

The Romney-Ryan election strategy is not hard to comprehend: It is to cripple Medicare and Medicaid by various means, including privatization; and to eliminate or shrink programs and services that the public , especially the poor and the sick, depend on for survival.

This may appeal to the wealthy and true-blue conservatives, but what worker would be attracted to vote Republican after listening to the Romney-Paul agenda? You’d be surprised.

Nevertheless, the Republicans can trap voter support… Continue reading

Check Out the ALF-CIO’s Constitution. I Did and Look What I Found!

By Harry Kelber | Labor Reform Movement | August 15, 2012

Harry Kelber

Herry Kelber

If you want to know why union members have no rights whatever in the affairs of the AFL-CIO, get yourself a copy of the AFL-CIO’s Constitution. If you don’t have a copy, write for one to the Federation’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. Turn to "Article IV: Convention," whose Section 4, stripped of legalese language, states: "Each national union or international union shall be entitled to the number of delegates and convention votes as the number… Continue reading

Union members weren’t told the extent of the financial problem

By Harry Kelber | The American Labor Reform Movement | August 10, 2010

Faced with diminishing membership and declining revenue, the AFL-CIO is selling the site of its accredited institution of higher learning, the National Labor College, on prime acres, ripe for development in Silver Springs, Md. The campus was purchased by the AFL-CI0 about 40 years ago.

The NLC has for years served as a training center for many unions (I taught several classes of Laborers’ leaders there), and I noted it provided good overnight accommodations. But as it… Continue reading

Defeat of Romney Is a Major Objective

By Harry Kelber | America’s Labor Reform Movement | August 8, 2012

The AFL-CIO is planning to take a political gamble, spending as much as $60 million in the hope that, if President Obama is re-elected for a second term, he will be able to deliver the labor "goodies" he promised but failed to deliver in his first term.

To stiffen Obama’s loyalty to organized labor, the AFL-CIO and its 43-member Executive Council gave him a royal welcome at their meeting on Oct. 1, interrupting the pro-union statements in his speech with prolonged… Continue reading

Does Silence and Money Go Hand-In-Hand?

By Harry Kelber | The Labor Reform Movement | August 5, 2012

Union members often wonder what AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka does to earn 8 times their average salary. They can’t find out from Trumka himself, because for years he has refused to answer any of your questions.

We know that he makes speeches about the nation’s economic crisis, but we have yet to hear what he’s actually done to improve things for us. He has no plan to stop the exodus of tens of thousands of good-paying U.S. jobs to low-wage countries. He’s… Continue reading

Glass-Steagall Bill Would Define Bank’s Activities

By Harry Kelber | Labor Reform Movement | August 3, 2012

In the aftermath of the 1929 stock market crash and economic meltdown, Congress passed the Glass-Steagall Act, which was designed to prevent future financial crises by reforming the functions of the banking industry.Under the Act, there would be two types of banks: one would be limited to commercial institutions for bank depositors, withdrawals, transfers and related transactions. The other type would deal exclusively with financial risk-taking investments in securities and bonds, where the banks could use our depositors’ money to produce profits for… Continue reading

Answer: Richard Trumka

Labor Reform Movement | July 24, 2012 | By Harry Kelber

The man who has earned that title is Richard L. Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, a 12-million-member labor organization. So let me tell you why.

Trumka is not the richest man in the U.S., although it’s true that he is doing far better than most of us at a salary of $264,827 in 2010, which is about eight times the average salary of union members.

In 2011, just one year later, he had his salary increased to $293,750. That’s a 10 percent increase in one year.… Continue reading

Workers Need a Strong Voice

By Harry Kelber | The Labor Reformers’ Campaign | July 8, 2012

Union members have read, in utter amazement, that for more than 100 years, no officer or member of a State AFL or Central Labor Council has ever held a seat on the policy-making AFL-CIO Executive Council, which has as many as 51 vice presidents.

How could such outrageous, undemocratic practices exist for so long without a massive rebellion on the part of union members, they ask? We’ll tell you how-and more important–how we are going to establish honest elections and other reforms at… Continue reading

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