New Alliance Hoping to Form a More Perfect Union
June 2001 IBEW Journal
New York has become the first state to reorganize its AFL-CIO structure under the New Alliance, a plan for area labor federations capable of rapid and coordinated response in labor crises and campaigns.
The idea is to establish a New Alliance of regional offices larger than the average central labor council and smaller than the state federation for quick grassroots local action, while keeping those traditional frameworks in place.
We are streamlining to ensure our resources are maximized and to strengthen our organizing activities, said Denis Hughes, President of New York State AFL-CIO and longtime member of IBEW Local 3, New York. The New Alliance will allow us to create a more mobile and more aggressive labor movement.
The New Alliance was launched at the 1999 federation convention, which adopted the framework for the program. Today New Alliance is taking shape state by state, with New York, North Carolina, Colorado, Oregon and Maryland/Washington, D.C. taking the lead. Georgia, Wisconsin and Minnesota are also starting the process of restructuring state and local AFL-CIOs for stronger voices for working families in communities around the country.
A New Alliance among unions in our communities will give working families new strength, said AFL-CIO President John Sweeney. Its about having a new expectation of what local movements can accomplish and change to reflect todays social and economic realities.
With Republicans in control of the White House and the House of Representatives, the legislative assault against labor is already underway. The mounting pile of anti-worker initiatives from federal lawmakers is a compelling argument in favor of rapid grassroots action.
Working hand in hand with the national and the local central bodies, I pledge that the NYS Fed will do whatever it takes to make the New Alliance a success, Brother Hughes said. I call upon all of our affiliates to join together, uniting our energies and resources, so that we can provide our members with the prosperity they so justly deserve.