From Truth Dig: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/labor_activist_says_corporate_rule_has_infected_afl-cio_leadership_20130205/
By Thomas Hedges, Center for Study of Responsive Law
Feb 5, 2013
Longtime labor activist Harry Kelber will oppose incumbent Richard Trumka for the presidency of the AFL-CIO at the group’s convention in Los Angeles in September. Kelber feels an obligation to challenge a president who, he says, is pursuing wealth and prestige rather than the true ideals of labor activism.
Kelber contends that under Trumka’s leadership, the AFL-CIO has failed to address the mounting threat against labor in the United States from the loss of bargaining rights to the refusal to adjust minimum wage standards to the push against implementing the “card check” union organizing system.
The federation of labor unions is afraid of backlash, Kelber says. It supported Barack Obama in the 2008 and 2012 elections without pressing him on issues that, according to Kelber, should have been at the top of its list such as the Employee Free Choice Act to make union formation easier and single-payer health care.
Members “think there’s no chance of any improvement and so they’re not fighting,” Kelber explains. “In the ’30s they fought. They got Social Security, labor laws, the CIO. Now they’re getting nothing.”
Kelber was at the forefront of the 1930s labor movement, editing two worker weeklies, organizing with the CIO and supporting the Newspaper Guild strike against management in New York City, which caused a 114-day shutdown of papers there.
Now 98, Kelber is frustrated with a movement that, he says, cannot accomplish a fraction of what it did 80 years ago.
“Today,” he laments, “union members are passive.”
Continue reading at: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/labor_activist_says_corporate_rule_has_infected_afl-cio_leadership_20130205/