Labor's Voice for Change (61) August 13, 2009

Why Are 43 Candidates for Executive Council Hiding?
It’s How They Intend to Win a Fraudulent Election

By Harry Kelber

With just one month left before the start of the AFL-CIO convention, the subject has not been mentioned, either on the AFL-CIO’s Web site or any of the pro-labor publications. The election of national officers at the convention has been treated as a non-event, with not a word about the opposition candidate to the Sweeney-Trumka leadership.

So it may come as a surprise that I am the only publicly announced candidate for a Vice President seat on the AFL-CIO Executive Council. By now, you know my background, my qualifications and where I stand on the critical issues facing working people and their unions. You’ll have to admit that I match up well with at least half of the current Council members.

But who are on Richard Trumka’s list of candidates for the Council? What unions do they come from? What positions have they held in the labor movement? What are their ideas for improving labor’s current financial and organizational problems?

You are not going to get any answers from them. You are not even going to see them. For under Trumka’s scenario, they are to remain incognito, until the opening of the convention on Sept. 14, when the convention delegates, who will decide the election, will be seeing them for the first time and vote on the nominations just two days later.

Union members won’t know much about Trumka’s candidates, even after they are elected, because, by tradition, they rarely speak out and have never been known to contradict an AFL-CIO president.

We Need Council Members Who Are Not Rubber Stamps

We need Executive Council members who are articulate, with fresh ideas, and not afraid to speak their minds. That’s not the kind of Council member Trumka would likely pick. He, like Sweeney, demands loyalty, above all else.

It is truly amazing how invisible Council members have been to union members. We don’t know what they look like or where they come from—a problem that could be remedied by publishing a booklet, containing their photos and basic facts about them.

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I think the AFL-CIO Executive Council should meet at least four times a year, instead of just two, because it has a large number of policy decisions to deal with that should not be left to staffers. Council members should make more public appearances to promote labor’s views .—Harry Kelber

Article 62 of “Labor’s Voice for Change” will be posted on Tuesday, August 18, 2009.