History of AFL-CIO leadership
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History of the AFL-CIO in general
Era of Lane Kirkland
- Struggle bubbles up at AFL-CIO
- Editorial from Workers World, 2 March, 1995. At
Bal Harbour, dissatisfaction with President Lane Kirkland's
style of leadership.
- AFL-CIO leadership in turmoil: labor needs
- By Scott Cooper, in The Organizer, 6 March, 1995.
Leaders conclude Kirkland's policy of getting into bed with
management has crippled the labor movement.
- Toward a more militant AFL-CIO?
- By Hy Clymer, in People's Weekly World, 10 March,
1995. Report of stormy discussion of AFL-CIO leadership at
Bal Harbour on February 21st.
- Jobs with Justice slates rallies to break
- By Hy Clymer and Judith LeBlanc, in People's Weekly World,
8 April, 1995. George Becker, USW, tells local Jobs with
Justice (JwJ) meeting of need for new leadership and
committment to struggle.
- Kirkland dumped from AFL-CIO office
- By Fred Gaboury, in People's Weekly World, 4 August,
1995. The post WWII era of passive unionism, associated with
the leadership of George Meany and Lane Kirkland, comes to an
end as Thomas Donahue becomes interim president.
- AFL-CIO CampaignTalk (3): 'Top down' leadership
- By Harry Kelber, 3 October 1995. Re. the March 1994 report which
said that unions are perceived
as "largely undemocratic bureaucracies." Both Tom Donahue
and John Sweeney, rivals for the AFL-CIO presidency, have made
dramatic proposals for positive change, but not specific proposals
to give union members mechanisms for influencing policies and
- Albert Shanker and the AFL-CIO in support of U.S.
- By Kim Scipes, former AFT member, 28 September 1997, reacting
to the 1997 AFL-CIO convention veneration of this agent of US imperialism
under Kirkland. This shows that the division in AFL-CIO policy remained
alive years after the new top leadership had come in.
Era of John Sweeney
- Sweeney Dumps 30-year AIFLD Director
- From Working Together, January-February 1996.
William Doherty, executive director of the American Institute
of Free Labor Development, is out. The AIFLD has a long history
of supporting repression against trade unions and is wedded to
the U.S. State Department and the CIA, and promotes free trade.
It remains to be seen what Doherty's firing indicates for the
future of AFL-CIO international policy.
- The 'New' AFL-CIO still looks like the old
- By B.B., in The People, October 1996. John Sweeney's
election represents a restoration of militancy, but from an ultra-left
viewpoint, the capitalist union, the AFL-CIO, is not what unionism
must be to protect and advance workers' interests.
- A Challenge to Convention Delegates
- By Harry Kelber, 5 September 1997. Preparatory to the
Pittsburgh convention in 22-25 September. Clearly, organized
labor has begun to rebound after years of steady decline in
membership and influence, but is still burdened with a few
undemocratic features, relics of the past.
- Hard Labor: John Sweeney, moderate militant
- By Jonathan Cohn, in New Republic, 6 October 1997.
Evaluation of Sweeney's character. Sweeney is labor's Mikhail
Gorbachev: the man who rose through the ranks of a hidebound
organization, accumulating allies and information along the way,
until his chance to take over and do things differently finally
came. Caught between reactionaries and radicals, he managed to
enact just enough perestroika to destabilize the Soviet Union
- AFL-CIO Executive Council meets: New organizing
runs into political attack on unions
- Shelly Ettinger, Workers World, 2 April 1998.
Re. Las Vegas meeting of the AFL-CIO Executive Council
on March 18-20, 1998. Labor's renewed emphasis on organizing
and its revived fighting spirit has alarmed the capitalist
class and intensifed attacks by the bosses.
- Will Organizing Suffer? AFL's Top Organizer
- By Leah Samuel, in Labor Notes, August 1998. Re.
removal of his organizing director, Richard Bensinger.
Bensinger alienated some old guard union leaders by his
constant emphasis on organizing--and the implicit criticism
that many unions were not doing a good job of it.
- Which side is John Sweeney on? Labor Notes
exposes AFL-CIO leader's partnership with GE CEO
- By Leah Samuel, in Labor Notes, 17 September 1998.
John Sweeney is planning top-level private meetings with
one of corporate America's most anti-worker CEOs, General
Electric's Jack Welch. Sweeney has never made a secret of
his preference for labor-management cooperation over
- Top AFL-CIO Salaries
- From Institute for Global Communications, 29 January
2000. A table of the salaries and Benefits of top labor