Unions Consider Upgrades for U.S. House of Labor


, D.C., June 03, 2009 – Leaders from twenty-three U.S. labor unions, representing three-fifths of the AFL-CIO, took part this week in a two-day conference organized by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) to consider changes that would dramatically reshape and revitalize the 54-year old AFL-CIO.

“We focused on systemic changes that would strengthen the labor federation’s finances and increase its clout,” said IAM President Tom Buffenbarger. “We discussed a range of changes needed to modernize and upgrade existing capacities. We tallied up the current expenses and matched them to projected revenues. And we sought to reassert the historic role of the Executive Council.

“These draft blueprints still need some work,” acknowledged Buffenbarger. “Over the next few weeks, we will seek input from the unions who could not join us.”

The most controversial measure would hold elected officials accountable by boycotting their re-election campaigns if their positions fail to support workers and their families.

Also under consideration is a massive advocacy campaign aimed at creating jobs for the 28.3 million Americans who are unemployed, underemployed or involuntarily working part-time.

Buffenbarger said that “these systemic changes will lead to a more focused and more powerful Federation.”

The IAM and other unions intend to proffer a series of resolutions and constitutional amendments that, if adopted by the AFL-CIO Convention in September, will guide the proposed changes.

The IAM is among the nation’s largest industrial trade unions, representing nearly 700,000 active and retired members under more than 5,000 contracts in aerospace, transportation, shipbuilding and defense-related industries. For more information, visit www.goiam.org.


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