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Labor Unions May Have To Abandon Obama to Beat Corporate America

05.16.10

Published by AlterNet / Written By Mike Elk

Labor Unions May Have To Abandon Obama to Beat Corporate America

Labor unions need to start fighting their battles in the workplace, not on Capitol Hill.
May 13, 2010 |

As president of the AFL-CIO, Richard Trumka is emerging as the voice of an increasingly irrelevant labor movement. As unionized work sinks to only 7 percent of the private sector, the labor movement is losing its influence within the Democratic Party. To revitalize labor, Trumka must not only challenge Democratic leaders, but wage political battles outside the bounds of party politics by bringing labor back to its working-class activist roots.

The failure of President Barack Obama to make a major push on the Employee Free Choice Act ## let alone give even a single speech dedicated to the topic ## is a telling sign of organized labor’s declining momentum inside the Beltway. As Washington Post columnist Harold Meyerson noted in February, “For American labor, year one of Barack Obama’s presidency has been close to an unmitigated disaster.” Labor ranks so low on the president’s list of priorities that a new generation of Obama activists is now planning for a political environment altogether devoid of the labor movement….

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Mike Elk is a third-generation union organizer who writes for Campaign for America’s Future. He previously worked for the United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers (UE).

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