Labor Reform Movement: August 24, 2012

How the AFL-CIOís Leadership Prevents Members
From a Voice in Union Policies and Actions
Why You Canít Contact the Executive Council

By Harry Kelber

Itís a long-standing fact that AFL-CIOís top leaders donít want you to bother them with suggestions or complaints. The standard answer you will get to your questions is silence ó a disheartening silence.

These bureaucrats feel they can deny you news and information they donít want you to hear. Who can you complain to? Not the AFL-CIO Executive Council. Thereís no way of reaching the 49 Council members. They have no chairman to whom you can write.

Your complaints to the Council are sent to AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, who wonít give you the time of day.

How We Can Assert Our Rights as Union Members

By depriving members of their right to participate in union affairs, the AFL-CIO will automatically continue to decline in membership strength and bargaining power.

No matter how talented union officers may be, they will usually end up in defeat if they do not have an army of supporters to carry on their campaigns. We should let Trumka know that his perpetual silences are causing serious difficulties for affiliated unions to ward off increasing corporate rightwing attacks.

The AFL-CIO leadersí shameful behavior is rapidly destroying American laborís image as the most democratic in the world.

We should remind Trumka how he used his silence to banish news about our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and his black out of news about Planned Parenthood and birth control from the AFL-CIO NOW web site.

We urge individual members and groups to register their complaints about being locked out of their rights as union members. If Trumka persists in ignoring the members, a motion to withhold union dues may be considered on the grounds that taxation without representation is tyranny.