Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Sweeney smooths over split in labor

Sweeney smooths over split in labor
By William Glanz

AFL-CIO President John Sweeney can look ahead tomorrow with a measure of relief when he gives a speech outlining the labor federation's agenda.

Labor's internecine war and the subsequent defection last year of four unions from the AFL-CIO threatened to cripple the federation by decimating its budget and putting it in direct competition with a rival labor group.

But so far the AFL-CIO seemingly has avoided any pitfalls caused by the departure of the Teamsters, Unite Here, United Food and Commercial Workers, and Service Employees International Union.

"I believe we all would be better under one house of labor, but I also never thought the split would be the end of the world for labor,"
International Association of Firefighters President Harold Schaitberger said.

The defection of the four unions to form the Change to Win Federation began when the Teamsters and SEIU made their dramatic announcement in July during the AFL-CIO's convention, where union members re-elected Mr. Sweeney.


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