July 28, 2005 – As the current leadership of the nationâ€™s largest organized labor body was reelected to another five-year term, other unionists began looking at the ripple effect the recent disaffiliation of two major unions might have on grassroots-level labor efforts.
According to the Workers Independent News, Richard Trumka, secretary-treasurer of the AFL-CIO, said the Federation has yet to decide how to handle dealings between two recently disaffiliated unions and the grassroots-level organizations that the AFL-CIO is built upon.
"Iâ€™m not gonna speculate. We havenâ€™t heard it. We havenâ€™t made any plans yet, weâ€™re just gonna continue where we are," Trumka said in response to questions about how the national Federation will deal with central labor councils and state AFL-CIO organizations that opt to continue working with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the Service Employees International Union.
Those two unions, which are part of a recently formed group calling itself the Change to Win Coalition, left the Federation Monday. Reportedly, two other CTW unions, Unite Here, a garment and hospitality workers union, and the United Food and Commercial Workers, are considering bolting from the AFL-CIO as well.
In departing form the Federation, Teamsters leader James Hoffa and SEIU leader Andrew Stern stated their intention to continue working with the central labor councils and state-level federations, a partnership prohibited by the AFL-CIO Constitution.
Many of the grassroots AFL-CIO bodies would face serious financial difficulties if SEIU and Teamster locals are barred from participating in their activities.
Convention delegates yesterday reelected President John Sweeney, Executive Vice-President Linda Chavez-Thompson and Trumka to their respective posts, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. The results were expected.