Union resigns from the AFL-CIO
America's largest labor union organization is licking its wounds this Labor Day, having suffered the embarrassing defection of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU). Robert McEllrath, president of the ILWU quietly sent a letter to AFL-CIO head Richard Trumka on August 29, laying out the reasons for the splintering. They are complicated, but "going along to get along" with Obama and Obamacare was mentioned. McEllrath wrote:
President Obama ran on a platform that he would not tax medical plans and at the 2009 AFL-CIO Convention you [Trumka] stated that labor would not stand for a tax on our benefits. Yet the federation later lobbied affiliates to support a bill that taxed our health care plans.
The ILWU mainly represents West Coast and Hawaii workers, and has a long and colorful history as a left wing-dominated union. These days, in the wake of containerization and increasing automation, it is struggling to survive.
The letter was first leaked to the Oregonian in Portland, where the ILWU has been fighting a jurisdictional battle with other AFL-CIO unions over new grain terminals. Accounts in the Oregonian and Seattle Times emphasized the jurisdictional issue, while Breitbart's story, written by Warner Todd Huston, picked up on the Obamacare angle.
This is yet another nail in the coffin of private sector unions. The only growth area for unions is among government workers, who are generally better paid and, enjoy significantly better benefits and retirement arrangements, than the taxpayers who are compelled to support them.
The old slogans and songs like "Which side are you on?" have become ironic in them light of the exploitation underway.