So I got an email from the AFL-CIO today (technically I got an email from "Rich" Trumka) that reads in part:
We’re getting as many signatures from working families as we can—families who want to make clear our priorities are fixing the economy first and restoring economic security. Please sign the petition today:
So I signed. But then I paused and wondered if the AFL-CIO is really "getting as many signatures from working families" as they can?
If so that means the AFL-CIO has sent marching orders down the ranks so that union stewards on the shopfloor are reaching out to members to sign and get their friends and family to sign as well. Which would be awesome and vitally important if we are going to be successful in stopping Obama from cutting deals with the Republicans.
The Teamsters aren't within the AFL-CIO at the national level so I'm unsure if this is happening or not. I can say we've used such all hands on deck platitudes in the past when it wasn't actually happening--and I can tell you I have never ever received any marching orders from Change to Win as a union steward. So, to be clear, I'm not pointing fingers at other institutional actors within the movement--I think this is a major problem within the labor movement as a whole. But I still can't help but wonder if it is happening?
Are there any stewards within the AFL-CIO who can confirm if such shop-floor organizing around this petition is happening? If it isn't, maybe we all should be asking: why the hell not?
Protecting Social Security from the likes of Obama and the Republicans has to be priority number one for unions since these people have made it abundantly clear to us through past proposals that cuts to Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare are palatable to them.
Online petitions are all well and good, but shop-floor organizing is, in the end, the only thing that's going to turn around the dwindling political power of the labor movement.
So go sign the petition (and if you are a union steward start passing it along to your members at work).