AFL-CIO Update: ‘Make No Little Plans’

By July 26, 2005Labor Unions

As had been expected, the SEIU pulled out of the AFL-CIO today and the Teamsters followed closely behind. This is a couple of million fewer members for the AFL-CIO. Ouch! Look for the UFCW to follow these two out the door soon. Of course, this has special meaning for John Sweeney as the SEIU was his union — he was actually the President of it once. So now that they’ve left, he can’t run for AFL President as a member of the SEIU, he’ll have to find another union to join so he can run on Wednesday. Any takers, any suggestions….?

As you know, the AFL-CIO Convention is taking place this week on the Navy Pier in Chicago. We were reading a history of the Navy Pier, its once-great days and then its nadir when ships left to find deeper ports. After a long dry spell of sorts, it re-emerged as the thriving locale that it is today. Reminded us a bit of the AFL-CIO’s history but they are at the moment stuck in the nadir. (No, not Ralph Nader…)

The Navy Pier is, according to this history, a central part of Daniel Burnham’s 1909 Plan for Chicago, which included the famous phrase, “Make no little plans.” We’d have to say that this might be the battle cry of the dissidents these days. They have taken a fairly extraordinary step, and they see big things in store for their merry band.

Sweeney will be clutching the last little piece of debris floating on the water as the dissidents sail away from the Navy Pier at week’s end, still wearing his tattered captain’s hat, hollering, “I’m still in charge!” Signifying nothing.