Where’d This Come From….?!?

By August 3, 2005General

A very interesting comment posted anonymously below, to the entry titled, “The UFCW Bolts.” Apparently it is a memo sent by Bob Welsh, Chief of Staff at the incredible shrinking AFL-CIO, to all employees, or at least to those who are left. We wonder, is it legit?

The text:

By now you are all aware of the actions taken by the delegates to the AFL-CIO convention in Chicago as well as the boycotting of the convention by four unions and the


subsequent decision by three of these unions to disaffiliate from the Federation. In addition, 11 vice presidents from various “Change to Win” unions chose not to run again for election.

The union delegates who remained in the hall and in the house of labor were energized and unified. They went on to make historic decisions to boost organizing, to consolidate strength for workers in their industries through industry coordinating committees, to build vital year-round grassroots member activism around issues, to rebuild our movement at the state and local level, to push diverse leadership at every level of our movement and to improve our governance. The delegates left proud and fired up, not unmindful of the profound impact a split will have, but determined to meet the challenges with unity and resolve.

We too need to remain focused and determined — and make good decisions about our work and about our future. A strong and effective AFL-CIO is needed now more than ever, and while the impact of these disaffiliations will be considerable, we need to rededicate ourselves to our mission and to the needs of American workers.

During the coming weeks we will be responding to these events as well as moving forward to implement the important decisions made by the convention delegates.

Here is what happened:

Intense high level negotiations went on up to the eve of the convention. These negotiations resulted in our addressing in good faith the legitimate concerns of these unions. There was little or no difference in the final positions of the two sides save for two matters: 1) The Teamsters Union refused to budge on their insistence that the per capita tax be cut in half, and 2) The group of unions wanted to dictate who the next President of the Federation would be, despite only having one third of the votes. Unable to control the convention, they first decided not even to show up and then SEIU and the Teamsters, followed later in the week by the UFCW, disaffiliated. The delegates overwhelmingly supported the officers and their program proposals, making many important decisions and re-electing John Sweeney, Rich Trumka and Linda Chavez-Thompson.

We will be scheduling a full staff meeting soon, and we will be asking each department to meet to do a formal assessment of the impact of these disaffiliations and the continued participation of other unions in the so-called “Change to Win” coalition. I know you all must have many questions about how this will impact our work.

We will set up an email account where staff can ask questions or make suggestions about how to deal with this situation.

We will be sending out to everyone a summary of the important decisions made by the convention this week.

On behalf of the officers, I want to thank each of you for your good work in the months leading up to the convention and during the convention itself.

Robert W Welsh Jr
Executive Assistant to the President
Chief of Staff
AFL-CIO
815 16th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20006