The recent split in AFL-CIO, where the Service Employees International Union and the Teamsters deserted in order to form a rival organization, will inevitably lead to a new political landscape come election time. No longer will the Democratic party be able to count on the monolithic support of labor. This very fact is evidenced by the severe reaction of Rev. Jesse Jackson who spoke at the AFL-CIO convention:
"We must turn to each other, not on each other," Jackson told 800 delegates to the AFL-CIO convention here. He warned against leaving "so much blood on the field that you cannot compete" against "anti-civil-rights, anti-labor-rights Republicans."The problem is labor's declining numbers reports the Christian Science Monitor:
"It's very clear that in the last decade, they've lost a lot of weight," says Charles Heckscher, a labor studies professor at Rutgers University. "No one's really taking them seriously." Despite union leaders' talk about holding Democrats accountable and influencing the direction of the party, he says, "when you only have 8 percent of workers you don't have that kind of clout."Gone is labor's golden age of the New Deal. This is not the Great Depression, and business is not the enemy. Until the AFL-CIO realizes thes two truths, they will continue their descent into oblivion. In truth, one could ask, what has labor done for workers in the last quarter century other than take their money and hand it over to the Democratic Party? Maybe this split will force labor to get out of politics (though highly unlikely) and focus on the workers instead.