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    "The fight is never about grapes or lettuce. It is always about people."
    Cesar Chavez

    :: Wednesday, March 15, 2006 ::

    United we stand, divided we survive - by Rick Fantasia, Le Monde Diplomatique, France
    Sweeney's problem is that the AFL-CIO is structured so that the 60 or more unions within it operate with considerable autonomy, so he has little authority to require unions to institute reforms. All he can do is encourage unions to devote more time, staff and finances to mobilising new members. But many union leaders have less incentive to invest in recruitment than in providing services to their current members, who will vote and ensure their re-election. This is hardly a recipe for a dynamic or participatory labour movement.

    Much of the dynamism that once characterised US unionism was drained decades ago by a bureaucratic regimen that did not tolerate creativity in its leaders or political radicalism. Some union leaders within the AFL-CIO are capable of breathtaking levels of parochialism and do little to mobilise their members; they may even actively discourage participation.
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