Friday, June 25, 2010

Merging: Why Less Is More

As I mentioned in my last entry, I believe that the labor movement needs to take a hard look at industries and trades where there are overlapping unions and make some tough decisions on merging certain organizations together.

First, let's look at a few obstacles to the concept of merging unions:

1. The big labor federations receive per capita dues from their affiliates, which means that if some of the unions in the AFL-CIO or CtW merged, there would be less per capita dues being paid to the aforementioned federations. This means the federations would most likely oppose any idea of mergers.

2. As I mentioned, each labor union has developed its own sort of fiefdom, which will not be given up easily, but if one looks at the long-term interest of the labor movement, I believe they would agree that it is a necessity.

Here are a few examples of unions that should consider merging:

The Amalgamated Transit Union(ATU) and the Transport Workers Union(TWU) and the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen(BRS) and the American Train Dispatchers Association(ADTA)

The International Longeshoremen's Association(ILA) and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union(ILWU)

United Farm Workers(UFW) and the Farm Labor Organizing Committee(FLOC)

International Association of Firefighters(IAFF) the International Union of Police Associations(IUPA) and the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees(AFSCME)

American Postal Workers Union(APWU) and the National Association of Letter Carriers(NALC)

With all these proposed mergers, I must point out that while I do favor merging different organizations, I am very strongly opposed to the creation of what I refer to as "Mega-Locals." Members of SEIU's Local 1199 will understand what I'm saying here. A Local with 20,000 members in several different states is entirely too big to give its members adequate representation.

If these, and other unions merged, it would free up funding for member education, along with a plethora of other opportunities to further the labor movement.
Fewer Unions, but with more members. Locals that are truly local.

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