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 they will face the biggest corporate-rightwing offensive in years. How are they preparing for that? The answer is they aren’t. There is no organizing plan to rebuild the AFL-CIO after the heavy losses during the recession, when more than 300,000 union teachers were fired

AFL-CIO Richard Trumka has shown no interest in recruiting new members. He is quite content with a shrunken labor federation, which still enables him and his cronies to control the 12 million-member organization without risks.

Can the AFL-CIO Survive without Organizing?

There used to be an old leftist battle-cry: "Organize or Die!" The AFL-CIO is in a moribund state, with almost no influence in Washington. Because of the inaction of its leaders, union members are seeing their wages frozen or cut, their benefits reduced or eliminated, and their safety and health undermined.

Many union leaders have given up the idea of campaigns to organize new members, because they fear that if they lose, they will be thrown out of office. Better to sit tight and wait for that fat retirement pension.

I maintain that workers can be recruited, even during hard times if a union membership is involved in the organizing campaign. The National Nurses Union has shown how to do it.

As the author of several pamphlets on union organizing, and a teacher on the subject, I pledge that, if elected AFL-CIO President, I will give top priority to union organizing. That is how we shall build a bigger and stronger labor movement.

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