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Laborers break ties to AFL-CIO

Written by John Reimann Friday, 17 February 2006

The break-up of the AFL-CIO continues, with the Laborers' union leaving and the apparant collapse of the Building Trades Department of the federation.

It seems that what's left in the Building Trades Department is the smaller crafts such as Electricians, etc. What I think is going to happen now is that the larger trades - Carpenters, Laborers, etc. - will start raiding the smaller ones. At least in the Nevada area, this is already what the Carpenters did; a couple of years ago, when the Plasterers' union was in the middle of negotiating a new contract, the carpenters leadership sent out letters to all the plastering contractors offering to sign them up to a carpenters' contract. Of course, in that situation it meant in effect trying to undercut the Plasterers' union.

Note two interesting comments in the article: First is the union official who claims that it will mean unionism like in the old times. This is a claim made for the benefit of the members, to try to win some sort of support for this from the members. Their true aims comes through where they talk about being able to meet the contractors' needs. Also note that this same official comments that they've been talking with the contractors associations since July. In other words, this break-up is at the very least partly at the encouragement of the contractors.

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