July 27, 2005

Not With a Bang

Via the New York Times:

The two giant unions that quit the A.F.L.-C.I.O. say their exodus will help revive the labor movement. But Greg Devereux, one of the 800 delegates at the union convention here, was not buying it.

"A lot of people are still stunned and angry about it," Mr. Devereux, a Washington State delegate from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, said Tuesday. "A lot of people view it as destructive and selfish."

Once upon a time, unionized labor accounted for roughly a quarter of all private sector jobs. These days, that percentage has plunged into the single digits and their political power has dwindled.

Two unions, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the Teamsters, have split from the A.F.L.-C.I.O, after having grown tired of wasting money on lobbying and supporting political candidates.

I should add, Democratic political candidates.

While few mainstream media pundits or even the unions themselves are willing to admit it directly, the A.F.L.-C.I.O. breakup can very much be attributed to the failure of the national Democratic Party to win or even hold the line in elections in recent years. These elections were supported by millions of union dollars that the SEIU, Teamsters, and others felt would have been better spent recruiting new union members.

While I think this is hardly the death knell of organized labor or the Democratic Party, it does point to a growing schism between elements of the blue collar, traditional union Democrats and a liberal leadership that seems to care more about gay marriage and than workers' rights.

A house divided against itself cannot stand, and as one wise conservative Democrat recently said, a party that loses touch with its base is a A National Party No More.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at July 27, 2005 09:45 PM | TrackBack