The AFL-CIO kicked off its annual convention on Sunday with the expected amount of fanfare. As we have discussed in detail, the labor organization is in the process of reinventing itself in an effort to boost its declining membership.
An article in the L.A. Times affirms that one way the AFL-CIO intends to garner wider support is to forge partnerships with grassroots organizations and progressive groups such as the NAACP, the Sierra Club, and the National Council of La Raza. Several news outlets are also reporting that this year’s convention speakers and scheduled sessions are focusing on gaining the support of younger workers through organizing.
Sunday Speaker Highlights
President Obama canceled his plans to travel to California to address the convention, reportedly due to the Syria conflict and his need to sell his Syria resolution to Congress. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) provided Sunday afternoon’s opening keynote address, calling for an increase in the minimum wage, and criticizing the “pro-corporate” U.S. Supreme Court. Warren’s speech received rave reviews from AFL-CIO attendees and the press, fueling buzz that should Hilary Clinton not run for president in 2016, Warren should run in her stead. White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett also spoke to attendees.
The convention will begin in earnest this morning with AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka’s annual address. Trumka is scheduled to speak at 8:30 a.m. Pacific time. A concurrent session targeting workers for “alternative” or “associate” membership is scheduled for 12:30 P.T.
On Tuesday, Labor Secretary Thomas Perez is slated to speak at 8:30 a.m. P.T., followed by a concurrent session on union front organizations (UFOs), commonly referred to as “worker centers” by the AFL-CIO.