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(en) US, The Agitator Index* Work Place Organizing: Black Unionists Warn: "Don't 'Restructure' Us Out" - Excerpt from the Black Commentator

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Tue, 15 Mar 2005 07:03:05 +0100 (CET)

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The push to “streamline” and consolidate the structures of
the AFL-CIO threatens to diminish the influence of Blacks in the
labor movement. “They want bigger unions,” said Bill
Lucy, head of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (CBTU),
referring to leaders of the Service Employees International Union
(SEIU), the Teamsters and others. “They want power players,
big unions in charge. The end result is diminution of community power.”
Blacks make up about 30 percent of organized labor, concentrated
in the urban centers, says Lucy, who is also Secretary-Treasurer of
the American Federation of State, County and Municipal
Employees (AFSCME). However, the proposed AFL-CIO
restructuring would concentrate power and resources in the
headquarters of a few large union chiefs, and away from the
metropolitan area Central Labor Councils. “Our fortunes lie at
the local level. Most of the national leaders are talking about getting
a bigger ‘bang for the buck.’ We lose out on this.”

[…] http://www.blackcommentator.com/124/124_cover_black_unionists_pf.html

For Black trade unionists, the struggle against racism is paramount,
and allows no one a free pass based on otherwise progressive
credentials. If organized labor is to be of any real value in the
coming battle for democratic development of the cities – the
fight against rampant gentrification and minority displacement, and
for development that serves the needs of current populations – it
must provide more, rather than less, resources and latitude to the
Central Labor Councils. It is commendable that SEIU’s
Andrew Stern has pledged to commit millions to unionize
Wal-Mart, for example, but who will organize the citizens of the
inner cities to resist penetration by the corporate “death
star” chain that negates all development but itself? That’s a
job for the heavily Black and Latino locals, through their Central
Labor Councils – not Andrew Stern’s or James Hoffa’s.
* By the antiauthoritarian anticapitalist revolutionary
Bring the Ruckus! initiative.

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