Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Change to Win?

Change to Win?

Yesterday, the Change to Win coalition had its first delegate convention, at the Renaissance Grand Hotel in downtown St. Louis.

I noticed this yesterday, and wondered: are the employees at the Renaissance Grand unionized? I think maybe they are, but I'm not sure whether they are members of an AFL-CIO union or a Change to Win union. I do recall the financing package required a living wage and somehow promoted the idea of unionization.

In any event, I have mixed feelings about this movement. While I support the idea of more organizing and less emphasis on supporting the Democratic party, I wonder whether this could have been accomplished better by changing the AFL-CIO. Hopefully, Change to Win won't be a long-term coalition. Instead, it should cause the AFL-CIO to change more quickly than it might otherwise.

At least, that's what I hope. I'm still somewhat loyal to the AFL-CIO - I'm a member of CWA, my mother-in-law is AFT, and my father-in-law is UAW. Many other family members and friends are union members, too.

The one thing that really perplexes me about Change to Win is the membership of the Teamsters. Under both Hoffas, the Teamsters have had strong ties to the Republican party, from Nixon to G.W.Bush. There's even evidence that the SEIU, whose membership is heavily African-American, may have some Republican-leaning members.

Maybe this flexibility is a good thing. But it scares me.

I am pretty much a leftist, in a lot of ways, but not in everything. Hence, I believe in:

  • Workers' rights
  • The class struggle
  • Protecting the environment
  • Reproductive choice and family planning

    Are these mutually exclusive? I didn't think they were, but sometimes I wonder whether it is possible to support both labor unions and progressive causes like the environment and women's right to choose.

    Overall, I think the Change to Win coalition is a positive force. But if it means a broad-based alliance of labor with Republicans, it is doomed in my eyes.
  • 1 comment:

    Anonymous said...

    The old left and right used to be defined more by economics, or fiscal policies. Today, it's more so social issues. In a place like union-heavy Granite City, folks there elect conservative Democrats locally but actually love Redneck Dubyas nationally. It's sort of the reverse of NYC going for neo-Rockerfeller Bloomberg as mayor while adamantly against Bush.