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July 8, 2005
Another Democratic Cornerstone Goes Shopping

While the Democrats have watched the Republicans start to make inroads into the African-American demographic recently, trying to undermine their last lock-step traditional base, another key constituency has its leaders talking about looking outside the Democratic box as well. The president of the SEIU, the union that represents millions of government workers, warned the AFL-CIO that supporting Democrats exclusively will not benefit labor in the long run:

Organized labor should help politicians who will advance labor's cause rather than simply supporting Democrats, says a union leader pushing for changes in the AFL-CIO.

"We can't just elect Democratic politicians and try to take back the House and take back the Senate and think that's going to change workers' lives," said Andrew Stern, president of the Service Employees International Union.

During a briefing Thursday, Stern said politics is only part of labor's strategy. He said "electing Democrats and taking back the House or getting rid of (House Majority Leader) Tom Delay" are not enough to answer workers' problems. "It certainly would help, but we don't think it's the answer," Stern said.

Not only did Stern attack the parent council's knee-jerk support for Democrats, he proposes that the AFL-CIO stop taking so much cash from member unions on politics and allow them to use it instead for organizing activities. Stern and four other leaders of major unions, representing five million of the 13 million workers in the AFL-CIO, have threatened to leave the federation in order to return control of their funds to themselves.

The AFL-CIO faces a major problem in this nascent insurrection. Having their bargaining power sheared by over a third will make it that much more difficult to coordinate work stoppages, turning an already difficult negotiating environment that much more treacherous. However, the Democrats must feel a panic with this threatened split. Not only will it mean less money going into sympathetic political campaigning, but it creates an opportunity for Republicans to poach further into their neighborhood. With Ken Mehlman applying pressure expertly on their stranglehold on the black vote, they cannot afford to see another constituency go wobbly now.

It appears that while Dean rages and foams at the mouth, ostensibly trying to rally the troops, what their interest groups have seen is the face of a long, long time in the minority. Their current leadership may well preside over the steepest decline in recent American political history, and unless the Democrats take steps to change them for responsible voices of loyal opposition soon, they will find themselves not just threatened with generational minority status but possibly with the fate of the Whigs.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at July 8, 2005 3:57 PM

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» Unions and union members from Bookworm Room
Buzzing around the Captain's Quarters, I discovered that the Service Employees International Union, which represents government employees, is putting out the word that the Demos should no longer rely upon as a certainty. I found this interesting, bec... [Read More]

Tracked on July 8, 2005 6:48 PM

» Unions Walking Away From Dems from The Strata-Sphere
Ed Morrisey has an update to a story we posted on a while back. The democrat base is in a shambles with Jews seeing that dems would jettison Isreal for a promise of peace from the Islamic Fascists, the African Americans are re-discovering their faith... [Read More]

Tracked on July 8, 2005 8:45 PM

» The Fate of the Whigs from Doug Ross @ Journal
A significant segment of today's left appears to be made up of a fascinating combination of demagogues, obstructionists, serial fabricators and plain, old-fashioned simpletons who are incapable of adding two and two. Thankfully, such a combination wo... [Read More]

Tracked on July 10, 2005 7:39 AM

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