The workers' cause is strengthened by organizations such as Jobs with Justice and the Alliance for Retired Americans. This site carries information for North Texas Jobs with Justice. The Texas Alliance for Retired Americans has its own site. For some time, the AFL-CIO has nourished official constituency groups for women, African Americans, gays, Asians, veterans, and Latinos.
Texas leaders of all these organizations will meet during the Texas AFL-CIO convention at the Sheraton Hotel on Hiway 114 (north end of DFW airport) July 18-19. At 8 AM on the 19th, I will chair the Constituency Group meeting. Members and interested persons may be able to attend through the constituency group of their choice.
The basic purpose of constituency groups is to strengthen the broad labor movement. We are particularly well situated to do that, partly because we can influence individual interests within the labor movement. I think that most of the constituency groups are doing a good job in that.
But I also believe we can strengthen the labor movement because most of us can recruit supporters from outside the labor movement and help move them toward our common cause. We can develop solidarity for labor's cause, we can raise funds for labor's cause, and we can put feet on the ground in labor's cause, whether those feet belong to union members or not. In this second important way we can strengthen the labor movement, I believe we could do more than we have been doing.
There are several obstacles that are difficult to overcome.
For one thing, each leader of each constituency group comes from one particular union. It is hard to rise above that one union's interests and view the broader labor movement. For another thing, it is even harder to rise completely above the union movement to see the vast oceans of unorganized workers who may not have a union yet but nevertheless share our values. It is relatively easy for us to talk to other union members. It is relatively easy for us to raise money from unions, because of their characteristic generosity. But it is difficult to work with volunteers, especially those with whom we have less in common.
Solidarity within and outside the union movement is our great challenge, but one that we must meet.
Learn more about the constituency groups on AFL-CIO's site.
AFL-CIO official constituency groups can be contacted at:
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