AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka recently granted CSPAN an interview in which he laid his plan to revive organized labor by … getting it more involved in the environmental movement, feminist groups and other part’s of the Democrat’s liberal base.
According to the Washington Post:
In an interview taped for C-SPAN’s “Newsmakers” program, Trumka said he was seeking a more formal alliance with other key elements of the Democratic Party’s liberal base, including civil rights organizations and women’s rights groups. The hope, he said, is to then broaden union membership beyond the traditional realm of workplace-based organizing.
“The labor movement is definitely in a period of change,” Trumka said. “We’re no longer going to allow employers to decide who our members are. We’re going to decide who our members are. We’re going to open up our arms to people who want to join our movement.”
In short, unions will start pushing more for those groups’ issues. They already do this to a certain extent through various coalition groups, but Trumka is apparently calling for making Big Labor even more of an advocate for liberal causes in the hopes this will build their clout on the Democratic left.
The problem here is that this runs the risk of crowding out more traditional union issues and causes from the debate. The AFL-CIO is already facing considerable internal friction over its environmental activism, which has upset some unions who see the green agenda as a job-killer for them.