Saturday, January 10, 2009

Labor merger?

It was reported this week that members of the various labor factions (AFL-CIO, Change To Win and even the NEA) have begun discussions about repairing the split that occured in 2005 when 7 unions (led by the SEIU) split from the AFL. Most of the reporting I have seen has fairly superficial generally just discussing the merger as a superficial move to streamline the political and messaging operations of the labor movement. That's certainly a part of it but there's lots of "inside baseball" type labor issues at work as well. Today Marc Ambinder begins to dive a little more deeply into the discussions,

There are much more fundamental issues being debated. And labor presidents are determined to keep the details of conversations under wraps for as long as possible.

They include: how and where organizing is done, what political priorities are should be, labor's relationship with the Democratic Party, labor's relationship to the Republican Party, union dues -- how labor relates to companies in a globalized economy -- and even more basic definitional issues...

Negotiations are very preliminary. Someone familiar with the discussions described them as "pretty full" -- but with no resolution to any issue. Ex-Rep. David Bonior, who is leading the discussion, is putting together a working paper that would serve as the basis for future debate.

Something to keep an eye on.

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