Labor's Voice for Change (65) August 27, 2009

Request a Copy of Election Ballot
To Justify Claim for Top Position

By Harry Kelber
Candidate for AFL-CIO Executive Council

On June 1, 2009, I (Harry Kelber) became the first AFL-CIO member to publicly announce that I was a candidate for Vice President on the 43-member Executive Council. I am therefore claiming the right to be the first candidate to be nominated at the convention’s nominating session on Sept. 16.

I shall also be entitled to a top position on the election ballot, in accordance with ”Article VI, Sec. 1(f) of the AFL-CIO Constitution, which states (in part): “The candidates for Vice President shall be listed on the ballot in the order in which nominated.”

I firmly believe there should be a meeting to decide on the position of the candidates on the ballot, as well as its layout and content. I am hoping we can come to an agreement that is satisfactory to all parties.

I am strongly opposed to having the AFL-CIO General Counsel’s office designing a ballot without my knowledge or participation, and will consider legal action if that is attempted.

Since this is a matter of some urgency. and with the election less than three weeks away, I expect to hear from you in the next two or three days, via e-mail or a phone call.

This e –mail was sent to AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Richard Trumka and AFL-CIO General Counsel Jonathan Hiatt

Where Have the Activists Gone When They Are So Needed?

It is puzzling, as well as disheartening, to observe that thousands of labor activists have preferred to remain silent about the AFL-CIO convention and the election of national officers, as though what happens in Pittsburgh on Sept. 13-17 is of no concern to America’s working families.

Apparently, they are reconciled to having Secretary-Treasurer Richard Trumka and a handful of international union presidents retain their hammerlock over the AFL-CIO without even trying to fight back.

That we could not find even one union leader or member to challenge a vulnerable and problem-ridden Trumka for President of the AFL-CIO shows not only a lack of courage but of strategic good sense. For even a bad defeat by our candidate in a well-planned campaign about today’s issues is more productive than surrendering to the Trumka faction by default., freeing it from criticism.

We also failed to put up a challenging candidate in the last three AFL-CIO elections. If we give them a blank check for a fourth time, where does it leave us and when will it end?

There is still time for some courageous, principled unionist to oppose Trumka for AFL-CIO President. Whoever takes on that challenge will earn the admiration and gratitude of those who believe in honest union leadership and respect for he rights of members. There won’t be cheers for those who remain on the sidelines.

Article 66 of “Labor’s Voice for Change” will be posted on Tuesday, Sept. 1,