Today may be remembered as a momentous day in labor history--or simply a modest advance in labor organizing. The insurgents will unveil the principles and program for the new coalition at a 12:30 press conference in Washington, D.C, at the Laborers building (conveniently located just across the street from the AFL-CIO..."hey, you, with the lipstick and blond hair, you look suspiciously like Bob Welsh"*).
Some of what the insurgents are expected to outline about the purpose of the Change To Win coalition is already contained in the resolution passed by SEIU's Executive Board this past Friday: "...to promote coordination, cooperation and collective action on organizing, bargaining and political action on a local, national and global scale. This organization, currently named the Change to Win Coalition, would also be open to other unions, including the Carpenters, who share our goals. It will enable this group of unions to carry out innovative strategies to advance workers’ interests."
As I've observed in the last couple of days, no one is calling this a Federation and none of the unions are announcing their departure from the Federation today BUT with this little engine running down a different set of tracks, there will now be an embryonic formation that can absorb any union leaving the AFL-CIO.
I'll be there and will post as soon as humanely possible all the highlights (figure on seeing something by 2 p.m.). Just to get your juices flowing, below is the media advisory sent out to announce the press conference:
PRESS CONFERENCE WEDNESDAY
BY LEADERS OF FIVE MAJOR UNIONS
PRESIDENTS OF TEAMSTERS, UFCW, UNITE-HERE, LABORERS, SEIU TO ANNOUNCE PLANS FOR FUTURE OF LABOR MOVEMENT
WASHINGTON, D.C. --- The leaders of five of the largest unions in the AFL-CIO - Teamsters, UFCW, UNITE-HERE, Laborers’, and SEIU - will hold a press conference Wednesday, June 15, at 12:30 PM at the Laborers International Union of North America headquarters to announce the creation of a new multi-union organization to address the urgent need for a large-scale, coordinated effort to rebuild the American labor movement in the face of globalization.
The press conference will follow a meeting of fifty of the top leaders of the five unions who will adopt a Constitution and Bylaws for the new organization and develop coordinated organizing and growth plans.
The five unions represent 5 million workers. They have recently partnered on a platform that would reform the AFL-CIO and bring the labor movement into the 21st Century. The platform calls for dramatic new emphasis on organizing non-union workers and for restructuring federation and affiliate activities to respond to the profound changes in the American economy.
Who:Terence O’Sullivan, President, Laborers’ International Union of North America
James P. Hoffa, President, International Brotherhood of Teamsters
Joseph Hansen, President, United Food and Commercial Workers Union
Bruce Raynor, General President UNITE-HERE
John Wilhelm, President UNITE-HERE Hospitality Industry
Andrew Stern, President, Service Employees International Union
Fifty top leaders of the five unions
*for the casual reader, Bob Welsh is John Sweeney's executive assistant and chief of staff.