• At the UAW annual Community Action Program Legislative Conference, UAW president Bob King called for the organized labor community to forge alliances with like-minded groups to fight for social justice. King explained that the UAW was not strong enough to achieve change by itself. Instead, the UAW needed to build alliances with the civil rights community, the international community, the LGBT community, the environmental community, and the faith community. King applauded union efforts that helped elect President Obama to a second term. He also argued that it was time to end the two-tier wage system the UAW accepted with the big-three Detroit automakers. To accomplish this goal, King urged a renewed effort to organize foreign automotive companies, arguing that change can only happen if the whole industry is organized.
  • Sean McGarvey, the president of the two million member AFL-CIO Building and Construction Trades Department, issued a call on Twitter to retiree the 16-foot tall inflatable rat known as “Scabby the Rat,” a longtime union action symbol. McGarvey said that the rat is a symbol of confrontation, and unions should instead focus on arguing that they add value to companies. Many union members bristled at McGarvey’s call to retire the rat, arguing that he is a meaningful symbol of the struggle between workers and big business.