The NewStandard ceased publishing on April 27, 2007.

New Labor Group Pledges Renewed Organizing Efforts at Founding Meeting

by Brendan Coyne

Sept. 28, 2005 – A group of seven unions gathered yesterday in St. Louis to mark the official birth of the first organized labor body with the numbers, clout and resources to rival the movement’s old guard in over 50 years. The meeting marks the first time in five decades that a large body of unions announced their intention to officially work together outside of the venerable AFL-CIO.

The seven unions making up the Change to Win Coalition say they will try new tactics to unionize workers and challenge corporate power.

Four of the members – UNITE HERE, United Food and Commercial Workers, Service Employees International Union, and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters – officially left the AFL-CIO in recent months to pursue the new organization. The Carpenters and Jointers union disaffiliated from the Federation over fours years ago. The new alliance also includes United Farm Workers and the Laborers Union International of North America.

In addition to offering the support of their representative unions for a renewed focus on organizing workers and battling Wal-Mart, delegates to the Change to Win founding convention approved a Constitution and elected a slate of leaders. The daylong gathering also played host to a number of speeches urging the coalition to adopt new strategies.

The Change to Win leadership council elected Service Employees Union financial secretary Anna Berger to officially chair the coalition and UNITE HERE’s Edgar Romney to the secretary-treasurer post, marking the first time a United States labor federation has been headed by a woman or an African American.

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The NewStandard ceased publishing on April 27, 2007.

Brendan Coyne is a contributing journalist.

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