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Union chief outlines plans for recruitment, political campaigns

By Kevin Lavery, KWMU

St. Louis – AFL-CIO president John Sweeney told local union members in St. Louis Monday that the federation is restructuring its operations to promote greater unity.

The AFL-CIO proposes spending $30 million per year on local recruitment and political campaigning.

Some union households worry about labor's ability to stick together. Retired United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 655 member Peggy Wilson feels President Bush's plan to revamp Social Security amounts to divide and conquer.

"That's the fear," Wilson said. "That's a fear that's rising. And you may think you have one answer, and I may think I have another, and be so committed to that belief that we start pulling apart rather than pulling together."

The AFL-CIO is also undergoing internal turmoil. Five affiliate unions are threatening to break away. The federation will address that issue at its constitutional convention next month in Chicago.