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Monday, June 27, 2005

Political Program Impacted

The disagreement over how labor should structure itself and what its focus should be is impacting the political efforts of the AFL-CIO, as plans to overhaul the campaign plan stall. Lobbying efforts seem to be unaffected.
Political directors for top AFL-CIO member unions have been mulling changes to the political program since December. The early consensus was that they needed a more consistent presence in more states if they are to turn electoral tides, according to a participant.

“The ideas were to have people on the ground,” said the member of the AFL-CIO’s political committee. “And to train and educate those people to talk to friends, neighbors, churchgoers and bowling club members about the issues, so voters don’t have some stranger knocking on the door, two weeks before the election, telling them what to do.”

In late May, the breakaway unions’ political directors skipped a meeting, this one called to discuss fundamental approaches to the federation’s political program.
In a letter to AFL-CIO Political Director Karen Ackerman, political directors from the rebel unions urged that the meeting be postponed until after the convention.
Over the objections of the dissident unions, the federation’s executive committee earlier this month approved a more than $250 million budget for the next two years. It calls for spending about $60 million on political activities.
If you want the inside scoop on the current situation in the House of Labor, check out the Working Life blog.