Article 43


Friday, June 16, 2023

Corporate Unionism Redux

image: biden yelling at working american
The AFL-CIO was involved in one of the worst scandals in labor history, when 26 current and former national union leaders, including AFL-CIO President John Sweeney, approved an insiders stock trading scheme as directors of the Union Labor Life Insurance Company (ULLICO) that enabled many of them to gain a total of more than $7 million in profit, from January 2000 to November 2001… The AFL-CIO, as presently constituted, serves as a model of corporate unionism, in which a group of labor leaders. acting like a corporation, treat unions as their collective property. Big-time union leaders each have their own tightly-controlled fiefdoms. They regard union democracy as an outdated practice, even a luxury, in a global economy that requires labor leaders to act quickly and decisively… If they control negotiations with employers and make decisions about the terms of a contract, while DENYING ANY INPUT from their members or allowing discussion and a fair vote on the final settlement, that;s corporate unionism.
- Corporate Unionism, Internet Archive, 2004
Union voters delivered this [2020] election for Biden and Harris. Their message and commitment to create the most significant “pro-labor, pro-worker administration” resonated with ours and 12.5 million member, 56 affiliated unions who are hungry for a bigger voice in our economy and our politics.
- AFL-CIO Looks Forward to Working with President-Elect Joe Biden, November 7, 2020
Amid the chaos of the Covid-19 pandemic, frontline workers are showing the world what heroism looks like. And as we confront the coronavirus with courage, big businesses and corporate executives are profiting from the service and sacrifice of American workers. Billionaires have increased their collective net worth by more than $1 trillion in the past three years… America’s inequality crisis began long before this public health crisis, but failed leadership has deepened it… I was in the meeting where Biden, just days after he was elected, looked a group of CEOs in the eye and said that in his administration, “unions are going to have increased power.”
- What Biden and Congress can do to support unions, CNN, January 26, 2021
After a 3-year saga of stalled contract negotiations between the country’s freight rail carriers and the 12 unions representing over 100,000 railroad workers, “pro-union” President Biden and Congress last week averted a national rail “shutdown” by overriding the democratic will of rail workers and forcing a contract down their throats.
- Railroad Workers Speak Out After Congress and Biden Block Rail Strike, Real News Network, December 7, 2022
In 2018, former Teamsters President James P. Hoffa FORCED A CONTRACT UPON MEMBERS despite a majority no vote. It kept part-time wages low and established a second-tier driver position, named “22.4” for the contract section that created it. Now new drivers make less money and get fewer overtime protections than existing drivers doing the same work.
- Will The Teamsters Sell Out Its Members, June 2023


How can the biggest union in America throw its support behind the guy who abandoned and forced union represented railroad workers back to work in 2022?  It was the biggest blow to organized labor SINCE PRESIDENT REAGAN fired the air traffic controllers in 1981.  Along with breaking his campaign promise to raise the minimum wage, and PLEDGING to not use union-hating companies like Amazon for federal contracts - President Biden is no friend of working America.  I’m ashamed - but NOT SURPRISED - the AFL-CIO supports him. The solidarity movements of tomorrow may be better off excluding WORTHLESS UNIONS, and starting FRESH, with new people, new blood, and new hope.  Like those union bosses at the CWA that sacrificed me and a bunch of other techs in 2004, corporate unionism and our PLUTOCRACY need to go.


image: i wish this was fake news

Biden is returning to his union roots as his 2024 campaign gears up

By Will Weissert and Seung Min Kim
Associated Press
June 16, 2023

JOE BIDEN opened his 2020 presidential run at a Pittsburgh union hall, declaring, “I’m a union man. Period.” As he gears up for reelection, the president’s FIRST POLITICAL RALLY is being held at a union gathering on the other side of Pennsylvania, punctuating just how much Biden is counting on labor support to carry him to a second term - especially in a critical battleground state.

The symmetry is no accident. Rallying labor activists on Saturday at Philadelphia’s convention center can help Biden’s campaign spark enthusiasm and tap early organizing muscle. That may eventually boost Democratic voter turnout in the city’s suburbs and other key parts of Pennsylvania, which in 2020 helped him flip the state where Biden was born from DONALD TRUMP.

It speaks to this president’s visceral understanding that, when the labor movement in the United States is strong, the economy and our democracy are strong, said Mary Kay Henry, international president of the 2-million-member Service Employees International Union. “He sees the role that working people and unions play in everything that he’s trying to make happen.”

Many of the country’s top unions, including the AFL-CIO, American Federation of Teachers and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, announced Friday their endorsements of Biden’s 2024 campaign - the first time the groups have done so in a coordinated manner and this early in the presidential election cycle.

“We wanted to have all of the unions onboard and making a very strong statement,” said Lee Saunders, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and head of the AFL-CIO’s political committee, who pushed for the coordinated endorsements. “We’re going to hit the ground running and make it clear that all of labor is supportive of the president, and were going to do what is necessary to get him reelected.”

The announcement was similar to one Wednesday night, when top environmental and climate groups teamed up for a joint endorsement of Biden’s reelection.

Biden has used executive actions to promote worker organizing, personally cheered unionization efforts at corporate giants like Amazon and authorized federal funding to aid UNION MEMBERS’ PENSIONS. He’s also TRAVELED THE COUNTRY, trumpeting how union labor is building bridges and improving train tunnels as part of the BIPARTISAN, $1.1 TRILLION PUBLIC WORKS PACKAGE Congress passed in 2021.

Though the number of workers belonging to a union has risen, overall union membership rates nationwide fell to an all-time low in 2022. The country’s largest unions have nonetheless built sprawling get-out-the-vote efforts, which Biden is counting on to help turn out his supporters in pivotal swing states.

Still, the White House’s relationship with labor has occasionally been tested, such as in December when some union activists criticized Biden for signing legislation preventing a nationwide rail strike.

The United Auto Workers said last month that it wasn’t immediately endorsing Biden’s reelection campaign due to concerns over the administration’s efforts to transition the U.S. into a nation reliant on electric vehicles. Biden supporters attribute the holdout to the union’s new leadership, which is taking a more confrontational posture ahead of bargaining sessions with the major auto companies.

Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., who leads the Senate Democrats’ campaign arm, said :we still have a lot of time right now between now and the election and that the auto worker union will likely endorse Biden’s reelection eventually.”

“He’s clearly, probably, the most pro-union president we’ve had in a very long time, if ever,” Peters said.

Meanwhile, ongoing strikes have sometimes complicated the administration’s messaging.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre has given conflicting comments on whether the administration weighs in on strikes that are in progress, saying in early May that “we don’t speak to an ongoing strike” when asked about Hollywood writers, yet offering support earlier this month to striking journalists at the Gannett newspaper chain.

The White House press office also apologized last week for crossing a digital picket line by referencing in a news release coverage from the news outlet Insider, where reporters are striking.

Biden nonetheless frequently addresses union gatherings and seems to revel in doing so. Though Saturday is his first campaign rally, mere hours after he announced that he was seeking reelection in April, the president made an official visit to the North America’s Building Trades Union’s Legislative Conference in Washington and declared, “I make no apologies for being labeled the most pro-union president in American history.”

His economic message can also resonate with non-union members. Charlotte Valyo, Democratic Party chairwoman of Chester County in Philadelphia’s suburbs, which Biden carried comfortably in 2020.

There are issues that are universal, regardless of socioeconomic status, or whether youӒre in the suburbs or the cities or rural areas, Valyo said. But she also said that the top issue among Chester County voters was defense of abortion rights after the Supreme Court struck down the constitutional right to an abortion last summer.

“Roe v. Wade is huge,” Valyo said.

Even as Biden won major endorsements from union leadership in 2020, meanwhile, some rank-and-file members supported Trump. Biden won the support of about six in 10 union members then, according to AP VoteCast, a survey of the national electorate. That’s a healthy, but not commanding, margin.

Brent Booker, general president of the Laborers’ International Union of North America, which represents mostly construction and energy sector workers and endorsed Biden last week, said that a key reason the union announced it was backing Biden so early was to ensure its members know how much his administration has accomplished, especially with the public works law.

“We saw what 2016 to 2020 looked like and those policies - or lack thereof - for our membership,” Booker said. Noting that Trump is again running for president, he added, “If it is Biden vs. Trump part two, I can point to: ‘What did the Trump administration do on infrastructure? And what did the Biden administration do on infrastructure?’”

Henry also noted that her union “had some small percentage of members that were for Trump” in the past. But she said the group has worked to counter that with ongoing messaging on union websites, through social medial campaigns and field staff work and even via paper leaflets and that such efforts continue during canvassing this summer.

She said Biden’s pro-labor reelection message is a strong one, but also cautioned that the president, when he speaks to voters, refrain from against getting דbogged down in the recitation of accomplishment” and instead makes clear “how those accomplishments are going to make a difference in people’s everyday lives.

“Talking about how he understands that, for the vast majority of the American people, there’s still a lot of struggle to make ends meet,” Henry said, “and that hes tried to use his first four years in office to intervene in that struggle.”


Posted by Elvis on 06/16/23 •
Section American Solidarity • Section Dying America
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