Can Labor Regain Its Clout?

The AFL-CIO's John Sweeney is under pressure from a restive rank and file

WITH ORGANIZED LABOR withering away to what its leaders fear is near irrelevance, a conflict over its future direction has been building between AFL-CIO president John Sweeney and Andrew Stern, a onetime protégé who is threatening to bolt from the federation and take its largest union with him. Among the proposals put forward by Stern, president of the 1.8 million-member Service Employees International Union, is one that would forcibly merge dozens of unions, putting weaker ones out of existence, with the goal of consolidating the bargaining power of unions in key industries. Sweeney opposes the idea (though he says he would...

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