Things are Getting Worse at the AFL-CIO

By May 2, 2005Labor Unions

The Washington Post’s Tom Edsall continues to dog this story, and he’s got some pretty good sources — even giving us a run for our money. In Sunday’s Washington Post is his story, “4 Unions Want Members off AFL-CIO List“. This is very bad stuff for Sweeney and Co., so bad, in fact, that now the Democrats on Capitol Hill are getting involved. This is their cash cow, their whip operation. If they lose this, “The ATM for the DNC”, as it’s been called by more than one union official, they are cooked. Expect political pressure to build on Sweeney over the next few weeks to either clean up this mess or get out.

Here’s the latest, combining Edsall’s report and what we can pick up from our sources: “Four dissident union presidents”, reports Edsall, “have demanded that their members’ names be removed from the AFL-CIO’s master list of 13 million households, attacking what many consider to be organized labor’s most important tool to influence political campaigns and legislative proceedings on Capitol Hill.” The four are the Presidents of The Service Employees, Teamsters, Laborers and UniteHere. These unions make up a large and influential block and are playing hardball. As one of our insider union friends (and faithful blog reader) wrote to us simply, “[Sweeney] can’t spin BS into gold anymore. He’s DOA.”

Again, we predicted that Sweeney was toast way back in November. We renew that prediction now. With the new –and unwanted — attention of his Congressional friends (?), he’s in a pickle he can’t get out of. This now has the potential of hitting his political pals where they feel it, i.e., the pocketbook, so apparently there’s no more Mr. (or Ms.) Nice Guy (or Gal).

All of this has only increased the buzzing throughout the labor movement about UniteHere official John Wilhelm officially jumping into to challenge Sweeney, something we also predicted and which Edsall echoes in his piece from yesterday. We expect that’ll happen pretty soon.

Very turbulent times in the House of Labor.