Jottings By An Employer's Lawyer

Monday, July 25, 2005

Two Are Gone, Others on Their Way? It's A New Day for Organized Labor


Reuters and others are reporting that the Teamsters and the SEIU have both formally declared that they were leaving the AFL-CIO and that four other unions, Laborers International of North America, UNITE HERE (the textile, garment, hotel employees), the United Food and Commercial Workers, and the United Farm Workers, all fellow members of the Change to Win Coalition may follow suit. The Carpenters, the 7th member of the coalition, left the fold four years ago. For the most current reporting be sure and check out Working Life, for on the scene's reports from the AFL-CIO convention in Chicago.

What does this mean for employers? Well obviously, it is far too early to tell and there will be plenty of opinions offerered over the coming days. Here's one from (as far as I know) a neutral academic, Robert Bruno, a labor expert at the University of Illinois at Chicago, who in the Reuters article suggests having two union coalitions may boost organizing and political activity. "When nonunion workers have options, when they have competing unions vying for their membership, they'd be more likely to join." Good old fashioned competition -- rings true to me. My thought for employers is this should be a time for increased vigilance, not celebration.




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