John J. Sweeney was re-elected president of the AFL-CIO for another four years
during the group's recent convention. There were no opposing candidates. His platform
was to focus and fight for working families.
"The changes we are making this week are an ambitious blueprint,"
said Sweeney. "What we do in the weeks and months ahead to move forward with
focus and fight will determine whether we build the stronger movement we must
have, and that working families must have."
Upon his re-election, a third union, the United Food and Commercial Workers
(UFCW) International Union, pulled out of the AFL-CIO, following suit of the teamsters
and service employees.
A letter from UFCW president Joe Hansen to the AFL-CIO, said they were terminating
their affiliation with the AFL-CIO "in order to better pursue the most effective
course of action for its members and all workers in its core industries."
"We believe that we must have a strong and vibrant political program connected
to the needs, concerns and goals of workers, irrespective of political parties
and labels," stated Hansen. "We must ensure that we are the voice of
workers to politicians and elected officials--and, not the voice of politicians
or any political party to workers. Politicians will find that as we grow our labor
movement, we will also grow our political power."
The UFCW is a founding member of the Change to Win Coalition. The group has
presented a reform proposal to the AFL-CIO that calls for a "redirection
of resources to rebuild worker power through strategic organizing to increase
the number of unionized workers within an industry or occupation."