Labor Spins a Yarn, Finds Some Takers

By August 18, 2006Labor Unions

A reporter friend mentioned to us that as we near the anniversary of the splitting of the labor movement, the AFL-CIO has been furiously calling around pitching a story of unity, love and togetherness, noting that they’ve come together on their political agenda. The person we talked to just wasn’t buying it, knew too much to write something this far-fetched. But we were amused to see that at least two labor beat reporters took the bait: Will Lester of AP weighed in with this piece this week entitled, “Labor Tries to Heal Their Differences,” wherein he quotes one post-schism labor skate as saying, “It’s a very exciting moment in our history.” Right. We bet it is.

However, Lester was beat to the bait by Jane Von Bergen of the Philadelphia Inquirer who wrote a piece on August 6 entitled, “Some Ties Still Bind.” In her piece, the same person in Lester’s piece is quoted as saying, “Life is full of surprises.” We guess so – like seeing the labor movement split in half. But it’s all swept under the rug in both these paeans to political unity.

This would be the same political unity wherein Andy Stern has already said he doesn’t want to pour money down the political rat hole like Gerry McEntee. This is the same political unity that features not one but two anti-Wal-Mart groups in the same side of the splintered group. The fact is, the AFL unions will continue to pour their members’ money down the rat hole on candidates and causes in which their members don’t believe. Overall, AFL-CIO membership will continue to decline. In the meantime, they can continue to pitch “once upon a time” kumbaya stories of unity that might have been. And apparently, they’ll get a few people to bite who should know better.