'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

What Now? (Part 2) 

As if to confirm the futility of union members pooling their funds through their unions to assert their political interest, the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO endorses Arlen Specter in his Democratic primary struggle against Joe Sestak, the same Arlen Specter who, back when he was a Republican in early 2009, killed the Employee Free Choice Act by saying that he would vote against cloture. Yes, you've got that right, the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO is supporting a man who played a central role in killing legislation that it publicly describes as its top priority.

Actions speak louder than words, they used to say, and, in this instance, the endorsement of Specter is more proof that the AFL-CIO doesn't consider the EFCA that important after all, public pronouncements to the contrary. Which raises the question: what does the AFL-CIO consider important? Inquiring minds would like to know.

Along these lines, I had a conversation with someone in my office the other day who was unhappy with being affiliated with SEIU. I told her that unions were important, and that even a bad one like SEIU provides protections and benefits that you don't get in the absence of one. But I also said that she should seriously consider withdrawing her contribution to the SEIU political action committee, and directing it somewhere more agreeable to her. Unfortunately, that's what it is going to take to get union leadership to start actually representing the interests of their members.

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