The ALF-CIO rejected both the Teamster plans and Sweeney's proposal, meaning the choice is now punted to the AFL-CIO convention in July. Jonathan Tasini has been on the ground and providing great live coverage, so you should head over to his place for the play-by-play. Trapper John's got background. DHinMI just posted up a long interview with Andy Stern. So there's your context. As for my thoughts, the crucial bone of contention is whether the AFL-CIO will be spending more on political advocacy or organizing. The latter would, at least theoretically, grow the shrinking movement, but the former keeps out Republicans who make unionizing harder and the safety net nonexistent.
But the AFL-CIO's political advocacy is rarely determinative. It certainly hasn't stemmed Democratic losses, and as the labor movement grows smaller, so too does their ability to affect electoral change. Fighting these rearguard political battles isn't winning them any wars, particularly not if they can't staunch their own bleeding. For that reason, I'm much more sympathetic to leaving Democratic politics to the party. There's a huge small donor base waiting to be tapped and, as a general rule, our resurgence will come when we nominate the right candidate at the right time -- we'll be able to fund him, and he'll create the necessary changes. But we're not strong enough to push our mediocre standard-bearers into highest office, for that, which is the mark of electoral dominance, we need a revived labor movement. So whether it means Stern pulling out and throwing the Labor movement into competitive disarray or simply accepting the Teamsters proposal, I'm desperately in favor of having labor focusing on Labor, rather than wasting resources in a war of attrition that only the Democratic party can actually win (or lose).
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