News & Updates


  • Thursday, September 1, 2005 St. Louis Convention Will Chart New Course for Union Movement

    Washington, DC – The Change to Win Coalition will hold the founding convention of a new labor federation in St. Louis on Tuesday, September 27, 2005 at the Renaissance St. Louis Grand Hotel. “September 27th will be a historic day for American workers when we found a new and powerful vehicle through which they can unite to ensure that all working families benefit from the global economy,” stated Anna Burger, Chair of the Coalition. According to Burger, “The central mission of the new federation will be to use the resources of the affiliated unions to wage a massive campaign to empower the millions of American workers who are currently deprived of a strong voice on the job and in their communities.”

    The 450 delegates to the convention –representing more than five million workers throughout the American economy—will approve a new constitution and establish the priorities for the new federation. The name for the new federation will also be announced at the Convention.

    The Change to Win Coalition was founded in June by unions representing more than 5 million workers, with a key focus to unite the 90 percent of workers not yet in a union so that all working people in this country can build the power to make their voices heard in their jobs, their communities, and in Washington.

    Stephanie Mueller, 202.326.0842 or 202.256.0833

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  • Thursday, August 11, 2005 Statement by Anna Burger On Unity in Local Labor Councils and State Labor Federations

    August 11, 2005

    In consultation with local unionists active in local labor councils throughout the nation, the Change to Win unions have long made clear that, whether we are nationally affiliated with the AFL-CIO or not, our local unions will continue to participate in and pay dues to central labor councils (CLCs) and state labor federations. This was reiterated in a statement issued by Change to Win on July 23.

    As our statement said then, "The labor movement is not about institutions; it's about the best ways to empower working people in our society...Through unity at the local and state level we can successfully implement new strategies to enable workers to unite within their industries and make our communities better places to live and raise families."

    All the AFL-CIO had to do was listen to the clear desire for unity at the local and state level and say one simple word: "Yes."

    Instead, the AFL-CIO has said repeatedly that continued local participation is not welcome and that checks from our local unions to local and state labor councils must not be cashed.

    Now, faced with a revolt at the local level, the AFL-CIO has taken a position that uses the rhetoric of unity but is designed to provoke unnecessary division. The fine print of its proposal provides that Change to Win local unions would be subject to:

        * A ban on participation in local and state leadership.
        * A requirement to be "bound by whatever actions or decisions of the [national] Federation that are binding on all affiliated local unions."
        * A requirement that to hold elected office in a council, an individual from a Change to Win union must publicly oppose their own union's democratically determined decision regarding national affiliation.
        * Discriminatory fees.

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  • Friday, July 29, 2005 UFCW Moves for a Revitalized Labor Movement, Disaffiliates from AFL-CIO

    Letter From UFCW International President Joe Hansen to AFL-CIO

    The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), its local unions and its officers are committed to rebuilding worker power. We have undertaken the process to restructure and revitalize our union to meet the needs of our current and future members. For our union to succeed on behalf of our members, we must be part of a revitalized and dynamic labor movement that connects with a new generation of workers struggling in the 21st century's global economy.
    We are building on a tradition and record of success. The U.S. labor movement has brought unprecedented prosperity, broad-based political democracy, human rights and legal protections to workers and their families. The labor movement changed the world, and transformed the living standards of working families. Both the AFL and the CIO played critical roles in the success of the labor movement in bringing economic security to workers. The merged AFL-CIO was a product of that success.
    Now, the world has changed, and workers' rights and living standards are under attack. Tradition and past success are not sufficient to meet the new challenges. We, as a movement, now must change to meet the challenges confronting workers. We have an historic opportunity and obligation to organize and lead a new movement for the 21st century.            

    The UFCW, along with the other unions of the Change to Win Coalition, has a vision and strategy for the future. The Change Coalition prepared and presented to the AFL-CIO a comprehensive reform proposal for change. At the core of our proposal for change is the redirection of resources to rebuild worker power through strategic organizing to increase the number of unionized workers within an industry or occupation. Engaged and organized union workers in an industry constitute the foundation of worker power.

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  • Monday, July 25, 2005 SEIU se Desafilia de AFL-CIO Nacional para Concentrarse en Estrategias para Unir a Millones Más de Trabajadores


    El Sindicato Internacional de Empleados de Servicios (SEIU), que con su 1.8 millones de miembros era el sindicato más grande y de más rápido crecimiento de la AFL-CIO, oficialmente se ha desafiliado de la federación nacional con efectividad el día de hoy.

    La carta de desafiliación de Andrew L. Stern, presidente de SEIU, señala que durante los últimos nueve años SEIU “ha desarrollado nuevas estrategias y nuevas prioridades para asegurar que el trabajo duro de los trabajadores en los diferentes sectores de nuestra economía se valore y recompense”.

    Como resultado, SEIU ha ayudado a más de 900,000 trabajadores –la mayoría de los cuales son trabajadores de bajos ingresos, de color, inmigrantes y mujeres– a unirse al movimiento laboral y así dotarlos de cobertura de salud para sus familias, beneficios de retiro y del suficiente adiestramiento, personal y herramientas para prestar un servicio de calidad.

    “Nosotros sabemos que a todos los líderes de la AFL-CIO les gustaría ver un mundo donde los esfuerzos de los trabajadores se valoraran y recompensaran”, dijo Stern en la carta a John Sweeney, presidente de la AFL-CIO. “Pero durante muchos años, y especialmente durante los últimos nueve meses, nuestros miembros y líderes han llegado a la conclusión de que las diferencias para lograr tal objetivo son sinceras, fundamentales e irreconciliables.

    “Respetamos a cada uno de los que tienen ideas sinceras que difieren de las nuestras, y reconocemos y apreciamos que ellos también hayan dedicado sus vidas al movimiento laboral. Pero llega un momento en que si no podemos lograr acuerdo en principios básicos, debemos cada uno dedicar nuestros esfuerzos y recursos a la consecución de estrategias que creemos ayudarán a los trabajadores a navegar las agitadas aguas de la economía global, sin dejar de ayudarnos uno al otro en estos esfuerzos siempre que podamos”.

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  • Monday, July 25, 2005 Statement by SEIU President Andrew L. Stern on Disaffiliating from the AFL-CIO

    July 25, 2005

    Thank you for joining all of the SEIU executive officers today -- Anna Burger, Eliseo Medina, Tom Woodruff, Gerry Hudson, and Mary Kay Henry.

    Yesterday, SEIU made the decision to not participate in today's AFL-CIO convention.

    Last night, after years of discussion across all levels of our union, our International Executive Board met. Today, we have made the decision to disaffiliate from the AFL-CIO.

    I want to stress that this was not an easy or happy decision.

    In itself, it represents not an accomplishment, but simply an enormous opportunity, and a recognition that we are in the midst of the most rapid transformative moment in economic history, and workers are suffering.

    We are walking down a road, and the mileposts are clear.

    A country that once had 35 percent union membership is now down to 8 percent in the private sector.

    And the results are that workers have less health care,

    less time to spend with their families, less secure pensions in their retirement, but more debt and more insecurity about the future.

    The American dream has slipped out of reach for too many.

    Our world has changed. Our economy has changed. Employers have changed; but the AFL-CIO is not willing to make fundamental change as well.

    By contrast, SEIU has changed.

    Our union was started in 1923, right here in Chicago. In fact, we're meeting today at SEIU Local 1 -- our very first local. Those original members were janitors -- Immigrants: Italian, Irish, Polish -- who traveled to this country in search of that same American dream.

    And despite the fact that other unions looked down on them, these workers united, found strength, and gave birth to a new union which has become the largest union in the AFL-CIO and the fastest growing in the world.

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