Big Labor bosses are considering opening their unions to non-members in an effort to create “an omnibus organization” of both union and non-union members, according to a liberal journalist.
“The AFL-CIO is preparing for a national convention in September at which it will consider opening its ranks to workers who aren’t members of or represented by unions, or (sic) creating an omnibus organization of both union members and non-members,” wrote Harold Meyerson in an American Prospect article last week.
In other words, the AFL-CIO would create grassroots groups for people they have little hope of ever formally organizing. Instead these people would take part in grassroots pro-union activism at the state level, particularly for living wage ordinances.
Pushing these so-called “living wage” bills — essentially hikes in minimum wage laws, but usually targeted at non-union businesses — is a strategy unions have increasing been turning to.
Earlier this week, I noted the AFL-CIO’s roll in getting the DC Council to adopt a living wage law. It was written to target Walmart and would force it to pay its workers $4.25 higher than the minimum wage for most other District businesses. The nonunion retail giant is trying to expand in DC but warns it may pull out if Mayor Vincent Gray signs the law.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka has often talked about tightening Big Labor’s ties to other liberal activist groups.