The AFL-CIO Leadership Crisis

By Harry Kelber

This booklet, published in 2002, explains why the AFL-CIO’s 54-member Executive Council is assured of automatic re-election, despite its dismal organizing record and its failure to win a single pro-worker law.

Harry Kelber, a respected labor commentator, cites evidence from union sources to show how the AFL-CIO’s “self-perpetuating oligarchy” prevents qualified leaders from state and local labor bodies to run for national office.

On the positive side, Kelber notes that there is a new breed of union leaders arising from the AFL-CIO’s 30,000 locals who are well-informed, articulate and effective spokespersons for labor. However, it’s an open question whether any of them will be able to break through the “glass ceiling” that the Council has created to keep all rivals out.

The booklet is “must” reading for members who want to promote union democracy.

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