Unions Mobilize Against Curbs
Unions are fighting back, but they have a tough row to hoe:
Several big public- and private-sector unions are launching a campaign aimed at stopping a growing push by states to curb union bargaining rights and benefits.
…Unions are also filing lawsuits challenging cutbacks and offering lawmakers other suggestions on how to cut costs and raise revenue.
"Every segment of the labor movement is under attack right now," said Naomi Walker, director of state-government relations for the AFL-CIO, which is working with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the U.S.'s biggest public-sector union; the Service Employees International Union; the American Federation of Teachers; and others.
The pay and benefits of the highly unionized public-sector work force have become prime targets for cuts as many states face budget shortfalls. Some politicians argue that union workers, who typically enjoy stronger job and benefit protections than those in the private sector, will have to make sacrifices.
The union campaigns—targeted now on Ohio, Wisconsin, Florida and New Jersey—will include phone calls and visits to union members, as well as demonstrations and meetings with elected officials. The goal is to get union members to convince state officials to oppose these measures and turn public opinion in their favor.
- JANUARY 15, 2011