AFL-CIO Update: Sweeney: Skirting the Rules…?

By July 27, 2005Labor Unions

We mentioned yesterday Juan Gonzalez’ story in the NY Daily News that raised the issue of whether John Sweeney would be eligible to run for President of the AFL-CIO if his union, the SEIU, left the federation as it did yesterday. It appears that indeed he is not eligible without having a union to claim as his own. We opined that he’d probably just join the OPEIU, the Office and Professional Employees International Union, one of the in-house unions for employees at AFL-CIO headquarters on 16th St. in Washington, DC. We discovered today from several sources that in the last day or two that Sweeney – apparently aware of this potential controversy — has been heard to invoke the name of the OPEIU as his union. However, it occurred to us that he might have another problem here. If in fact the OPIEU is one of the in-house unions for employees at the AFL-CIO and since after all he is the President of the organization, as unpalatable as it may be to Bro. Sweeney, he has joined the ranks of management under the definition of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). As such, he is ineligible to join the union made up of the proletariat from his organization. This would be a management-dominated union, a big no-no under the NLRA, and not exactly admired by the brothers and sisters over at the AFL-CIO.

We’re sure we’ve got this wrong and that some sharp-eyed reader from within the bowels of the AFL will write to us and set us straight. If not, let us be the first to welcome John Sweeney to the ranks of management bosses, and send him his honorary “Union Buster” card…