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Labor's Self-Inflicted Wounds Threaten Progressive Movement


posted april 17, 2008 | 08:14 pm (est

by peter dreier and kelly candaele

"just as we are on the precipice of a major political realignment, a possible resurgence of progressive politics in washington, the backbone of that movement -- organized labor -- is engaged in a self-destructive internal battle. this could not only undermine efforts to revive the labor movement, but also hurt chances of electing a liberal democrat to the white house and then expanding a progressive democratic majority in congress. it could also threaten progressive's ability to mobilize the grassroots political clout that will be needed to pass health care reform, end the war in iraq, address global warming, reduce poverty, and ironically - to pass labor law reform.

just this week, violence broke out at a union conference in michigan when members of the service employees international union (seiu) - the nation's largest labor organization - attempted to protest a scheduled speech by the president of the california nurses association (cna). the two unions have been attacking each other vociferously for months, each organization claiming that the other was at fault for one or another transgression, and in recent weeks the war has escalated out of control.

regardless of who is at fault - both organizations claim the other has interfered to disrupt organizing drives - the fighting among these two dynamic workers organizations has to stop. there is only one result that is predictable if the conflict continues - hostile employers and right wing forces in general will benefit."

"it's bad enough that the two remaining contenders for the democratic party's presidential nomination are attacking each other, giving presumptive republican nominee john mccain ammunition to increase his chance for victory in november. but when unions -- the institutions that provide the most effective ground troops and other resources for democratic candidates, progressive legislation, and building a movement for change -- are also at each others' throats, republicans and corporate america can only sit back and smile."

please read entire post here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kelly-candaele/labors-self-inflicted-wou_b_97331.html

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