The Carpenters Join the Insurgents — Is the NEA Next…?

By June 28, 2005Labor Unions

The Carpenters (not Richard and Karen, but the Union) made it official today, joining the Change to Win Coalition in their efforts to gain reform at the AFL-CIO and in the process defeat John Sweeney. That failing, they appear to be hell-bent on starting their own federation. With the addition of the Carpenters, the Change to Win Coalition now represents some 6 million workers, nearly half of the AFL-CIO’s total, but still not enough to force out the 71 year-old Sweeney. Here’s a link to the press release put out by the coalition today.

The other rumor sweeping the labor world is that the National Education Association (NEA) will soon be joining the Change to Win Coalition as well. While not a member of the AFL-CIO, the addition of their 2.7 million members would add considerable lift to the Coalition’s efforts to breathe life into the moribund labor movement presided over by Sweeney. Also, if the dissidents set up their own group, with the addition of the NEA it would be a few million larger than the one headed by Pyrrhus Sweeney. Some victory for him.

People will be working overtime (at time and a half, of course) between now and the AFL-CIO Convention in July to find a face-saving way out for Sweeney. The stakes just got raised by the Carpenters. If the NEA joins the group, the other shoe has dropped.