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Four Unions Boycott AFL-CIO Convention, May Leave Federation

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Four major unions are boycotting the AFL-CIO’s constitutional convention beginning in Chicago today. They are expected to leave the labor federation, and are supposed to announce their plans today.

At least the Teamsters Union and the Service Employees International Union are expected to withdraw from the AFL-CIO as early as today. These two groups make up 3 million out of the 13 million members of the labor federation. United Food and Commercial Workers and Unite Here are the other unions.

“When you are going down the road, and the road you are going down is the wrong road and you know where the road ends, you have to get off the road and go where there is hope,” said SEIU President Andy Stern. “Today there is hope for American workers.”

The four unions have formed a group called the Change to Win Coalition. The union leaders have refused to pay $7 million in back dues to the AFL-CIO. Stephen Franklin and Barbara Rose of the Chicago Tribune write:

The dissidents say they want unions to put more money into organizing, more controls over union squabbles and organizing efforts, and more mergers to concentrate unions’ strengths. They also call for up to half of unions’ dues to be returned to unions for their own organizing drives.

Rather than a celebration of the federation’s 50th anniversary and its 56 unions, the AFL-CIO gathering now seems more likely to be remembered for the first steps of the rival group set up by the dissidents and an unprecedented outpouring of acrimony and blame.

“We have to leave the federation,” said Connie Leyva, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1428 in Claremont. “We have to start down a new road. Change is healthy. Change is going to help.”

The four boycotting unions together make up nearly a third of the labor federation’s 13 million members. If the four choose to leave, the AFL-CIO will lose about $35 million.

Chris is a staff writer for WebProNews. Visit WebProNews for the latest ebusiness news.

Four Unions Boycott AFL-CIO Convention, May Leave Federation
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