Sunday, March 05, 2006

Best of luck losers

AFL-CIO alters negotiation strategy
Union to hold talks with one unit in each of four industries

Trying to reinvent itself, the AFL-CIO is taking a lesson out of the playbook of one of its member unions, the United Auto Workers, that targets one of the Big Three automakers for contract negotiations to set industry standards for pay and benefits.

AFL-CIO officials attending their federation's winter meeting said Tuesday that they are realigning the way they do business by starting four "industry coordinating committees" covering the entertainment and media industry, nurses, telecommunications and public employees.

One of them, the Arts Entertainment Media Industry Coordinating Committee, is likely to target one of the nation's broadcast networks next year for contract negotiations involving union members ranging from actors and TV newscasters to stage technicians and office workers.

Similarly, unions representing public employees have formed a coalition that is considering trying to target one or more states where they have recently lost or never had collective bargaining power. In the past year, Republican governors in Indiana, Missouri and Kentucky have abolished bargaining rights for public employees.

"We have to reinvigorate ourselves with the sense that we can protect ourselves," said Ed McElroy, president of the American Federation of Teachers.


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