AFL-CIO Update: The Speculation Continues

By July 7, 2005Labor Unions

Got a message from one of our union friends and regular blog readers last week, but somehow the Supreme Court hijinks kept it out of the blog ’til now. There’s a scenario making the rounds out there and supposedly even uttered publicly by Laborers’ President Terence O’Sullivan last week at a meeting out in the hinterlands. Here’s the deal: the big unions (the Gang of Five or Six or Seven) leave the AFL-CIO as promised/threatened. John Sweeney wins re-election comfortably later this month in Chicago. (OK — so far, so good. This is where it gets weird.) He steps down in August, a “soft landing” according to this source, i.e., goes to a well-paid job of some stature arranged for him somewhere (King of Fredonia, maybe?). Then the ones who bolted coalesce around a new replacement candidate (doesn’t the Secretary-Treasurer simply ascend?) and they all rejoin the AFL. (Hear the strains of “Kumbaya” yet….?)

Anyone who’s been in Washington long enough has heard every fantastic scenario known to mankind, usually in the run-up to a party convention. They almost never happen. However, the fact that this tale has some credibility and is being repeated by smart and well-informed people in the labor movement doesn’t bode well for Sweeney.

Separately, word is that the NEA has absolutely zero interest in joining the dissidents or the AFL-CIO, for that matter. Their convention is currently under way in Los Angeles. Recall that Andy Stern has listed them openly on his blog as part of his dissident group. Guess Andy jumped the gun.