Tuesday, May 23, 2006

AFL-CIO and Immigration

As demonstrated in an earlier post, a number of unions are leaving, or have already left, the AFL-CIO Federation to concentrate on organizing drives.

And those organizing drives are concentrating on the lower-end of the wage scale (with a few exceptions,) making one of the targets the immigrants, legal or otherwise, who occupy that niche in the economy.

Now comes news of another defection from the AFL-CIO:

The Laborers' Union, which represents 700,000 workers in the construction industry, has decided to leave the AFL-CIO, officials said.

The Laborers were already part of the Change to Win coalition, breakaway unions that have left the giant federation of more than 50 unions in an effort to forge a new direction for organized labor. But the Laborers had remained in the federation.

"We are leaving so that we can place our full efforts and focus on growth in order to help millions of construction workers improve their lives," said Richard Greer, a spokesman for the Laborers. The Laborers informed the AFL-CIO Monday that they are leaving as of June 1.

The Laborers, the Service Employees International Union, the Teamsters, the United Food and Commercial Workers, UNITE HERE, United Farm Workers and the Carpenters are part of the Change to Win coalition.

Frankly, labor membership numbers have been spiraling downward (outside of Government unions) for the last 25 years and although the union movement has a lot of cash available at the present, one does not need clairvoyance to foresee an empty treasury.

If/when the unions run out of money, they will be unable to make political contributions--and that will be the end.

So, to pump membership numbers, the Change To Win coalition is working two angles: first, to water down the Immigration bill as far as possible in all areas which count; and secondly, to capture as many of the immigrants into membership as possible.

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