Another Kick Up the Donkey's Behind

CHICAGO, July 24 (UPI) — Four major labor unions plan to boycott the AFL-CIO convention in Chicago on Monday, the Financial Times reports.
The Teamsters, Service Employees International Union, United Food and Commercial Workers and Unite Here are unhappy with what they see as a loss of direction and too much money spent in Washington by an American labor power they regard as mired in the past.

Full story here.

From San Jose Mercury News of July 26, 2005:

Two key unions bolt AFL-CIO
The Service Employees International Union and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, two of the three largest unions in the AFL-CIO umbrella organization, are walking away to form their own organization, called Change to Win.
The AFL-CIO's rupture spooked some Democratic Party leaders and many unionized workers, their futures in the hands of labor rebels who bolted the 50-year-old federation vowing to reverse the steep decline in union membership.
Those four unions represent one-third of the AFL-CIO's 13 million members. The SEIU and Teamsters alone account for more than $20 million of an estimated $120 million AFL-CIO budget.
Much of that money goes to Democratic candidates and to political operations that benefit the Democratic Party. Stern, Hoffa and their colleagues in the Change to Win Coalition pushed the AFL-CIO to shift focus from such political activity to recruiting new union members, contending that a growing union movement would naturally increase its political and bargaining power.
`They said no,'' Hoffa said at a coalition news conference held a few blocks from the AFL-CIO convention site in Chicago. ``Their idea is to keep throwing money at politicians.''
Democratic politicians catch most of the AFL-CIO donations, one reason why party leaders worry about a weakened federation. The AFL-CIO also spends millions of dollars on programs that help get Democratic voters to turn out on Election Day.
Some Democrats said Monday they hoped the warring factions would come back together. Others suggested the competition would jolt organized labor out of its decades-old slumber. - Source

This will eventually take away a big part of the Democrat Party's support structure. Democrats don't need this especially at a point when they already feel cornered and are fighting to the last inch. Governor Dean appeared to have been appointed Chief by a Republican dirty trick. Harry Reid talks about scorched earth. Republican ideas are being listened to around the country. What is the future of the Democratic Party: being relegated to a noisy but ineffective opposition for ever? Unless the Elephant trips while learning to dance.

Posted by Krishan Kumra at July 26, 2005 4:18 PM