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Member Unions Boycotting AFL-CIO Convention On 50th Wedding Anniversary

By Sam Bakken in News on Jul 25, 2005 6:54AM

7_2005_aflcio.jpgThey came to Chicago excited to celebrate 50 years of wedded bliss, but they're leaving divorced. The Service Employees International Union, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, United Food and Commercial Workers and UNITE HERE (UNITE is the Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees and HERE is the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union) announced that they'd boycott the annual AFL-CIO conference. The conference begins today in Chicago, and labor officials say the SEIU and the teamsters will announce at a press conference today that they will leave the AFL-CIO. The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations merged in 1955.

AFL-CIO president John Sweeney says the boycott is "a fig leaf for a power struggle". The Change to Win Coalition (a group all four boycotting unions are members of) Chair Anna Burger says they want to revive labor America (today only 12.5 percent of workers are union members) and John Sweeney ain't gettin' it done.

Say what you will about unions, but this is a big-ass, historic deal. Especially for the stumbling Democrats who've always counted on unions to get out the vote.