Feb 20, 2014
Despite UAW's organizing defeat in Tennessee, unions aren't backing down from their quest to give workers a voice in the South. At the AFL-CIO's winter strategy meeting in Houston this week, leaders vowed to strengthen and mobilize their allies.
Larry Cohen, president of the Communications Workers of America, said one of labor's strategies will be to link up with civil-rights and human-rights groups fighting issues such as voting rights.
"If we separate these issues, we all lose," he said. "The challenge for people in labor...is to build that kind of coalition," said Mr. Cohen. "There's now much more incentive to build that movement in Tennessee."
Communications Workers of America President Larry Cohen said his union has done most of its organizing in the South over the past decade, "not because we focused on the South, but because we focused on certain kinds of work that was growing" in that region, he said. Mr. Cohen said the union of roughly 700,000 members in the U.S. and Canada has about 150,000 workers in the Southern U.S., including at AT&T Mobility. The union represents workers at that company in more than a half-dozen Southern states, including Alabama, Tennessee and Georgia, according to the union's website.
Here's the take by Slate, which quoted Cohen saying:
"It's not so much a turning point in terms of working people and how they behave, but to have a U.S. senator, who takes an oath of office to be part of the federal government, ignore the preamble to the National Labor Relations Act, which clearly states that it's the policy of this government to promote collective bargaining. Instead, he attacked it."