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New Leadership Needed at the AFL-CIO

We've kept our mouths shut for way too long but now is the time to shake things up

Kris LaGrange's picture
Aug 04, 2017

I recently spoke and participated at a conference of unions, discussing the many fronts organized labor will be taking on in the months and years to come. In New York, a Constitutional Convention is being floated to the voters in the upcoming November election. If approved, it's only a matter of time before New York becomes a Right to Work state and Prevailing Wages for the Building Trades will be repealed. I am not overly confident that labor will be able to get out the vote but I pray to high heaven that I am wrong. Union political experts were nothing but going into the last election. Silent and afraid of the bigotry that infests our union halls, we failed as a unified union movement to warn our members about the dangers of Trump. Blinded by their hatred of Mexicans and women, some union members got their POTUS but now we all must deal with the Janus reality . The Janus Supreme Court case is breathing down our necks and collecting dues to properly fund contract enforcement will be impossible. Just ask Wisconsin how they're doing.

I was inspired at this conference I attended by the words of a union leader who is popular, effective and well respected. He said in his own way that AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka is weak and ineffective. I am usually the guy who says what's on everybody's mind, this time someone else did. With the mistakes we all made letting Trump win and seeing all of the progress we've made dwindle tweet after tweet, why the hell are we letting the same politico's at the AFL-CIO lead the fight? Where is the national call for new leadership? Younger leadership that possess traits that we need; courage, know how, humility and vision. The AFL-CIO is 12 million strong, who has the talents to bring the Teamsters and Service Employees back to the table? I may have someone in mind but the AFL-CIO has shunned UCOMM too many times for me to jeopardize placing someone else on their secret shit list. I just wanted to put this out there so the union movement can chat it up. Rich Trumka had his time, and that time is gone. We need someone who can both fight Trump and work with him (if he lasts). A leader who can work the mainstream media and be a frequent figure. A union leader that has the vision and staff to garner mass support through social media. A leader who can keep Sean McGarvey at the Building Trades in D.C. honest and on-message. Someone relatable and reachable. Someone who inspires. Rich isn't the guy, the question is, who is?

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