Unions Vow to Press for Reform; Stern to Stay with AFL-CIO
Byline: William Glanz, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
LAS VEGAS - A coalition of reformist unions yesterday said labor leaders aren't making changes significant enough to help boost membership and reinvigorate the stalled labor movement, but they vowed to continue pressing for reform.
Although discussion of reform threatened to break apart the AFL-CIO, renegade labor leader Andrew Stern, president of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), said he will remain in the federation of 58 unions.
"I feel like I have a lot of company, and I like the company," Mr. Stern said.
On the second day of their annual meeting to plot strategy, labor leaders yesterday approved a plan to return some of the dues paid by unions to the AFL-CIO to fund organizing efforts.
Debate over the future of the labor movement has revolved around how much money to devote to organizing and how much money the AFL-CIO's vigorous political action campaign needs.
The union leaders continued to work out details yesterday, but a plan floated by AFL-CIO President John Sweeney would reduce union dues by $15 million annually. The plan also would increase the amount of money the federation of unions spends on political activity, from $32 million to $47 million.
"The figures are still in flux," AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Richard Trumka said.
Teamsters President James P. Hoffa had proposed cutting union dues to the AFL-CIO by 50 percent, but he mustered support from just nine of the 24 unions represented on the executive committee.
"The American labor movement can organize and empower workers even in this most difficult of climates if it marshals and deploys its resources effectively," Mr. …