Deep in the Heart of Texas: The AFL-CIO Looks South
Josh Eidelson has a piece about the AFL-CIO “exploring new investments in alternative labor organizing and a multi-union effort to transform Texas.” And that is good news. While there has been so much talk about the possibility of a major electoral shift in Texas, there hasn’t been much talk about an opening for labor. But I agree, based on what I can see from here, and what I’ve heard from those on the ground, that Texas could be an opportunity if the resources were there and an aggressive multi-union strategy. And that appears to be what we’re talking about here: “Becker also told The Nation that the AFL-CIO plans to support an ambitious multi-union effort to organize in Texas.” That’s AFL-CIO General Counsel Craig Becker, whose leading the “Initiative on the Future of Worker Representation” to come up with ideas to be discussed at the federation’s convention.
There is also talk of increasing support for alt-labor groups, along the lines of OUR Wall Mart or Working America.
It’s hard to tell what a push in Texas would look like. Would it involve alt-labor groups only? If not, would unions be fighting for traditional collective bargaining agreements? (My attitude on this, as a general rule, is that trying new things is a good thing, but that shouldn’t mean abandoning traditional organizing, which is often hampered by lack of resources and an overemphasis on funding Democrats).
In addition, even if such a campaign were announced, the question of whether aggressive rhetoric will be met with significant action will remain open, at least initially. If nothing else, it’s a significant organizational challenge to bring together multiple unions to go on the offensive together. In fact, it would be a challenge to get even a single union to do that. Here’s hoping the convention enthusiastically gets behind this idea, that implementation is even more enthusiastic, and we get to see whether we can build a culture of unionism in the South,
And while we’re talking about organizing in the South and a culture of unionism, have you checked out Doug Williams’ and Cato Uticensis’ piece on the subject? Well, why not?