AFL Update: This Letter is a Doozy

By July 12, 2005Labor Unions

Thanks once again to Jonathan Tasini for circulating and posting a letter from IAM President Tom Buffenbarger (to no one in particular), attacking the dissidents and defending John Sweeney. The phrase, “with friends like these…” comes to mind. If we were Sweeney, we might ask Buffenbarger to switch sides. You can read the letter for yourself in Tasini’s posting on the topic, but the laugh out loud line for us comes at the end of page one. He’s trying — we think — to make the point that the labor movement isn’t shrinking in absolute terms (a pretty difficult — OK, impossible case to make) but only in relative terms due to the huge explosion in the size of the workforce.

From 1995 to 2005, he says, “the US adult population grew by 27 million. The total labor force grew by 18 million. And the number of non-farm employees grew by 16 million.” Now comes the top of the turnbuckle body slam, the killer defense of Sweeney, et al:

“It’s hard to imagine how the current officers could be held responsible for such explosive population growth.”

Right on, Tom! You tell ’em!

This is really hard to rebut. You can’t blame Sweeney for the population growth, he’s right. However, we think the point the dissidents are making is that maybe Sweeney & Co. could’ve picked up a few of these souls into membership while they were pouring money furiously down the rat hole.

In any event, we pass it on for comic relief. The logic is Swiss Cheese-like. We think the word is, “porous”, but it’s a fun read. A few more defenses like this and Sweeney’s a goner.