The departure of SEIU and The Teamsters from the AFL-CIO is perhaps the biggest change in organized labor since the merger of the AFL and the CIO. In The Nation, Janice Fine interviews six of organized labor’s most prominent leaders about the fissures in the confederation and the challenges facing unions.
“[Andy] Stern [head of SEIU]: We have gone from a GM to a Wal-Mart economy. This can be slowed down, or, as we saw with the New Deal, we can organize unions and pass laws to soften the changes. There are a lot of factors we have less control of, but we have complete control over our own strategies and plans and the way we work with each other. That is where you have to start, with things that are in your control. If we want to reward work, we are going to need unions that have strategies, resources and the focus to be successful. I would say, right now we have unions that don’t coordinate and cooperate and don’t share a common strategy. We have a badly divided labor movement.”