AFL-CIO

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

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

The World of Labor | July 21, 2012 | By Harry Kelber

Adidas, the giant sportswear company, has won a $156 million deal that makes it the key sponsor of the London 2012 Olympics. But it has produced the tons of athletic sportswear exclusively in a range of low-wage countries, including China, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand, where workers receive poverty wages and substandard working conditions.

In the United States, there is widespread outrage that our athletes won’t be wearing clothes that are manufactured in our country. A worldwide alliance of trade unions and civilian… Continue reading

Unlikely bid for organization’s top office to emphasize transparency

By Sarah Freishtat | The Washington Times | Thursday, July 19, 2012
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When Harry Kelber announced his intention to run for president next year of the nation’s largest labor organization, he carefully planned his campaign message. But he also had something else to plan — his 98th birthday party.

Mr. Kelber, a longtime labor activist from Brooklyn Heights, N.Y., and outspoken critic of the AFL-CIO, announced his candidacy late last month on the day he turned 98. He will be 99 when he formally challenges AFL-CIO President Richard L.… Continue reading

Corporate Crime Reporter | June 20, 2012

Harry Kelber will challenge Richard Trumka for the presidency of the AFL-CIO at the labor union’s convention September 8-12, 2013 in Los Angeles. Remember Harry Kelber? He’s a labor activist and writer who runs The Labor Educator. Every week, Kelber eviscerates the leaders of the AFL-CIO for not actively challenging the corrupt corporate establishment in Washington, for paying 131 of its executives more than $100,000 a year, and for censoring any criticism of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In an interview with Corporate Crime Reporter last year, Kelber said that Trumka was… Continue reading

BY CARL GINSBURG | National Nurse | May 2012
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From his perch high up on Brooklyn Height’s north bank, Harry Kelber can see across New York Harbor at all of Wall Street, its skyscrapers stacked in jagged outline. "They are dominating our country. The government is subservient to Wall Street," said Kelber, never one to pull punches. ‘We need a settlement to make up for what was taken. They are getting away with murder:’

Harry Kelber National Nurses United

Harry Kelber at his Brooklyn home. Photo from the National Nurses United magazine

On June 20, Harry Kelber turns 98. With remarkable… Continue reading

By Josh Eidelson | The Nation | April 30, 2012

Over eight decades in the labor movement, Harry Kelber has been a rank-and-file union leader, an author and an academic. At 25, he edited two weekly labor newspapers. At 57, he helped found a labor college at Empire State College. At 81, he ran for AFL-CIO vice president. Now 97, he writes three columns a week for his website, The Labor Educator. The Nation talked to Kelber about his experience of the labor movement’s past, his critique of its present and what he sees in its future. What follows is… Continue reading

By Matthew Rothschild | The Progressive | April 7, 2012

Harry reciting his poem at the Labor Notes conference May 2006

I’d like you to meet a great labor activist.

His name is Harry Kelber. He’s 97. "I’ll be 98 in June," he tells me.

Harry Kelber’s parents came over from Russia. "They didn’t speak much English," he said. In fact, he ended up teaching them.

When he was nineteen, he organized his first union at a Brooklyn food market.

In his twenties, he edited weekly labor newspapers and rallied support for the CIO.

He continued to work as a… Continue reading

By Matthew Rothschild, Editor | The Progressive | April 6, 2012

Matthew Rothschild, Editor of The Progressive

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Can Low-Paid Workers Support a Family on $7.25 an Hour?

By Harry Kelber | LaborTalk (225) | February 17, 2012

American workers have been repeatedly told by President Obama and his surrogates that "if you work hard and play by the rules," you can earn a comfortable Middle Class living.

This turned out to be untrue -a cynical promise–for millions of workers who tried to live by those precepts. Millions of tough, obedient workers ended up in the ranks of the unemployed, many losing their homes and healthcare insurance.

Congress has traditionally been reluctant to raise the minimum wage of… Continue reading

Corporate Crime Reporter | June 28, 2011

At one time, Harry Kelber — who just turned 97 last week — was a conservative.

But that was in high school.

"Thomas Jefferson High School in New York City – one of the finest high schools at that time in the city," Kelber told Corporate Crime Reporter in an interview last week.

"I was a conservative in high school," Kelber said. "I believed that capitalism was a wonderful thing because it gave everyone an opportunity."

"I believed that the Communists were just vengeful. They were just sorry that they couldn’t make it."… Continue reading

By Harry Kelber | The Newspaper Guild – Communications Workers of America | March 11, 2011

For more than 30 years, well-meaning, savvy trade unionists have offered proposals to revive an ailing and declining AFL-CIO–to no avail. All the plans that were presented at well-attended conferences, all the articles that were written and widely distributed, all the resolutions that were debated and approved, failed to change the Federation as the citadel of labor conservatism and guardian of the status quo.

So on March 4-5 a gathering of 96 self-selected union leaders and activists from 23 states met in Cleveland "to… Continue reading

World of Labor | July 20, 2010 | By Harry Kelber

"Leave behind what you know of’ "Robert’s Rules of Order" and structured union meetings. A new generation of labor leaders across the country is emerging to bring workers together in pinball machines, music festivals, trivia nights and pub crawls, all with an activist edge." says an article in AFL-CIO NOW.

The brainchild for building a new labor movement based on young organizers with a novel, carefree approach to union-building is Elizabeth (Liz) Shuler, the AFL-CIO’s Secretary-Treasurer, who devoted herself almost exclusively for the past two years (when she was… Continue reading

By Mike Griffin | Counterpunch | February 18, 2004

As a rank and file trade unionist for more than 37 years, I have born witness to events perpetrated by our so-called leaders that range from amazingly corrupt to outlandishly stupid; but the attack on a ninety year old elder statesman is proof that no matter how low you can believe they will stoop, we continue to underestimate their resolve to find the ultimate depth. If the realm somewhere between slug slime and pond scum comes to mind, we are on a parallel thought path. The removal of DR. Harry Kelber… Continue reading

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