AFL-CIO Memo Disses Reunification Reports

05/11/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Ryan Grim Washington Bureau Chief, The Huffington Post

The AFL-CIO is pushing back hard against reports that a new union federation could pave the way to the reunification of the labor movement.

Washington Post columnist Harold Meyerson recently reported the announcement of "the formation of the National Labor Coordinating Committee, an interim body that could pave the way for labor's reunification by forming a new federation with roughly 16 million members."

Also: "The union presidents have largely agreed to focus the federation (its name is still up in the air) on the political and lobbying operations at which the AFL-CIO has excelled."

Not so fast, says AFL-CIO president John Sweeney in a memo dated April 8th that the Huffington Post got is virtual hands on. The memo was sent to the presidents of "all National and International Unions, Principal Officers of State Federations and Central Labor Councils," according to the e-mail.

Sweeney tells the union officials that "contrary to suggestions in certain press reports," the AFL-CIO's participation in talks does not "reflect any intention whatsoever for the AFL-CIO to relinquish its responsibilities to an umbrella organization of any kind. The AFL-CIO is America's Labor Federation and it simply will not yield its role to a coordinating committee of any kind."

"Most importantly, again contrary to a few press stories relying on unnamed sources, the AFL-CIO has absolutely no intention of converting itself into a mere political/lobbying operation," he adds.