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Sun Aug 18, 2013, 08:23 AM

The AFL-CIO Is Exploring New Investments in Alt-Labor and Texas Organizing


AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka applauds as President Barack Obama speaks at the AFL-CIO, Tuesday, September 15, 2009, at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

The AFL-CIO is exploring new investments in alternative labor organizing and a multi-union effort to transform Texas, according to the union federation’s general counsel.

“There is a lot of interest in exploring non-traditional forms of membership, but also some reasonable skepticism about it,” AFL-CIO General Counsel Craig Becker told The Nation in an interview in his Washington, DC, office last week. “What can they actually deliver? Can they be self-sustaining?…I think people within the AFL are at different places on it.”

Becker, who served as a member of the National Labor Relations Board during President Obama’s first term, currently oversees an “Initiative on the Future of Worker Representation,” one of several venues for soul-searching in the lead-up to the AFL-CIO’s quadrennial convention next month in Los Angeles. As I’ve reported, the past two decades have seen an explosion in the number of “alt-labor” groups organizing and mobilizing workers outside of traditional union representation or bargaining; such groups currently mostly rely on union or foundation funding. “I think our sense is those organizations are leading to collective bargaining,” said Becker. “Either in a more direct sense, like they’re building within a particular employer or industry, or in a more expansive sense.”

Becker said that members of the union-backed non-union group OUR Walmart have “shown that they do have some power. You can have strikes—they’re not the kind of strikes which close the employer and which lead to a collective bargaining agreement, but they are strikes which dramatize what’s happening in the workplace, which draw attention, and which create positive results.” Becker also noted the Communications Workers of America’s use of alternative organizational structures against the telecom giant T-Mobile, the American Federation of Teachers’ (AFT) organizing in states that deny public employees collective bargaining and the work of the AFL-CIO’s non-union affiliate Working America.

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Reply The AFL-CIO Is Exploring New Investments in Alt-Labor and Texas Organizing (Original post)
xchrom Aug 2013 OP
Motown_Johnny Aug 2013 #1

Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sun Aug 18, 2013, 08:45 AM

1. They are not the only ones with goals in Texas.




National Democrats are taking steps to create a large-scale independent group aimed at turning traditionally conservative Texas into a prime electoral battleground, crafting a new initiative to identify and mobilize progressive voters in the rapidly-changing state, strategists familiar with the plans told POLITICO.

The organization, dubbed “Battleground Texas,” plans to engage the state’s rapidly growing Latino population, as well as African-American voters and other Democratic-leaning constituencies that have been underrepresented at the ballot box in recent cycles. Two sources said the contemplated budget would run into the tens of millions of dollars over several years - a project Democrats hope has enough heft to help turn what has long been an electoral pipe dream into reality.

At the center of the effort is Jeremy Bird, formerly the national field director for President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign, who was in Austin last week to confer with local Democrats about the project.

In a statement to POLITICO, Bird said the group would be “a grass-roots organization that will make Texas a battleground state by treating it like one.”

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