July 25th, 2005

bald australia sepia

Hopeful for Labor

AFL-CIO Splinters, Spooking Some Democrats

Maybe I'm being blindly optimistic but I honestly see this as very good news for the moribund US labor movement. It might make sense to pour millions of dollars into the Democratic Party's pockets while the party is doing good things for labor, but when that party isn't doing a damned bit of good for labor (maybe not their fault...I think it is...but it's just objectively true that the money is not well spent at this time) that money is MUCH better spent elsewhere.

I'm constantly amazed at how little money the big unions spend on recruiting and organizing. They could do so much more and it would have SO MUCH more impact on the political climate to double the size of the labor movement than any donations to the Democrats could make.

This is so much more promising than the Carpenter's Union's split from the AFL/CIO. When the Carpenters split it was mainly so they could compete with other tradespeople for jobs, which is lame. This split seems to really be about fundamentally changing how the labor movement does business. Anyone who says this is going to weaken the movement is silly because it isn't like these unions are going to disolve, the same number of people will be unionized both before and after this split, the same amount of dues will be raised, the dues money will simply be spent differently. The labor movement was built without the help of Politicians, it can be rebuilt without their help (and once it is rebuilt, the politicians will follow).

I'm cautiously hopeful. SEIU are progressive rockstars but I'm still wary of Hoffa Jr's claims to be a "reformer".

I wonder how this will affect my dad's (Letter Carriers) union.