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June 22, 2004

SEIU's Stern Blasts AFL-CIO

Gear up for big debates on the future of the labor movement after the November election.

Andy Stern, head of SEIU, launched a preview:

Union activists must "either transform the AFL-CIO or build something stronger that can really change workers' lives," Stern said.

The AFL-CIO's loose structure "divides workers' strength. . . . It has no enforceable standards to stop a union from conspiring with employers to keep another stronger union out or from negotiating contracts with lower pay and standards."...

Stern went out of his way yesterday to avoid directly criticizing John J. Sweeney, who had preceded Stern as SEIU president and who is now AFL-CIO president.

"John Sweeney, a good man who devoted his life to our union, tried to breathe new life into the AFL-CIO. But John Sweeney has proven that the problem is not who captains the ship but that the ship was not built to navigate the storms of the modern world," Stern told SEIU delegates.

Some are upset that Stern didn't wait until after the election, but this is a long-term debate and we can walk and chew gum even while working to defeat Bush.

See the speech in multimedia here.

Posted by Nathan at June 22, 2004 10:56 AM