June 13, 2005 – The executive council of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) announced it is endorsing the current AFL-CIO president for another term in a statement calling for unity among the 57-member labor coalition. Tensions within the organized labor movement have heightened as of late, as rumors abound that several unions will leave the federation this summer if the leadership does not dramatically alter its plans.
In preparation for such a possibility, the Service Employees International Union is founding a new labor organization focused on organizing new workers.
At a conference later this week, SEIU and four other unions are expected to formally announce the creation of the new labor coalition, "Change to Win."
The four unions joining SEIUâ€™s efforts, Unite Here, the United Food and Commercial Workers, the Laborers and the Teamsters, have been vocal critics of Sweeneyâ€™s leadership during the crisis of falling membership. Last month, they jointly released a plan calling for more money for organizing and restructuring of the AFL-CIOâ€™s priorities.
Advance details of the new organization, released by Jonathan Tasini, president emeritus of the National Writers Union and labor analyst, leave open the possibility for the Carpenters union, which left the AFL-CIO years ago, to join. The SEIU executive boardâ€™s resolution also provides specific authority to leave the AFL-CIO and provides the rules under which SEIU locals can remain in the Federation under their own accord.
Less then 8 percent of the United States private sector workforce belongs to a union, down from a high of one-third decades ago.