Bush war on labor
When the AFL-CIO convention last February opposed
President Bush's then-looming war against Iraq, it surprised some pessimistic
labor analysts who felt an anti-war resolution would be too controversial for
the traditionally conservative AFL-CIO even to consider. The war in Iraq may be
all but over, but not the war against labor that the Bush administration
officially declared at that convention.
Nothing energized the delegates to close ranks and unify
against the administration as did the insulting address by Labor Secretary
Elaine Chao. She made crystal clear that not only was the administration not
going to be throwing any crumbs to labor, but that it intended to aggressively
pursue its anti-labor offensive.
The defeat of President George W. Bush in the 2004
national election emerged as the top priority for organized labor. As both
delegates and union leaders emphasized, Bush, under the smokescreen of
"national security," has removed tens of thousands of government
employees from union protection, and plans to privatize hundreds of thousands
more union jobs.
Even the opportunistic Teamster President James Hoffa,
who has played political footsie with the Republicans in the past, heatedly
declared his opposition to President Bush's anti-labor, pro-corporate
administration and support for the AFL-CIO campaign to defeat him.
Already weakened by a declining membership and
sophisticated management campaigns that have blocked many union drives, the
AFL-CIO approved plans to increase organizing efforts, especially among the
lower paid service industries, where employees receive the lowest wages and
virtually no fringe benefits and have demonstrated their willingness to join
unions by their militant strike actions.
Published by News and Letters Committees