If she wants to be AFL-CIO president, she's going to have to break Trumka's kneecaps.... A sourceMike Antonucci reports on a piece in Bloomberg Law
that Randi Weingarten is considering challenging Richard Trumpka for leadership of the AFL-CIO, a position I have always believed Randi had her eye on and back when people speculated she was after Secty of Education I pointed out that she had more power as head of the AFT. And in fact she still has more power now than she might as AFL-CIO head. But I always believed Al Shanker coveted this position but in those days the idea of a public service union head, especially a teacher, would lead the heavier industrialized AFL-CIO was not a reality.
My sense has always been that Randi wanted to go further than Shanker did and the AFL-CIO is a place that would accomplish that.
Things have clearly changed as industrial unions declined and the public service unions have risen to the top in the union movement. So Randi making a move is feasible. (Remember how Al Shanker made a move on his former mentor Dave Selden at the 1974 convention in Toronto (I was there)). Shanker's move was partially inspired by then AFL-CIO head George Meany who was very pro-VietNam war, as was Shanker, and Selden was opposed to the war.
Selden did not go quietly and wrote a book with some heavy criticism of Shanker.
Maybe a lesson for Randi. But if Trumpka doesn't want to go it won't be as easy for Randi as it was for Shanker, who had Unity Caucus domination of the AFT to rely on. There is no Unity Caucus in the AFL-CIO.
And then there's this point from Antonucci:
I can think of at least one good reason she wouldn’t want the job. She made $405,793 last year as AFT president. Trumka made $261,779.Well, maybe the AFT/UFT Unity Caucus machine can supplement her salary to make up the difference.
If Randi should make the move and be successful, that leaves the AFT presidency open and since 1974 UFT presidents have occupied the position since then except for the 4 years between Sandy Feldman and Randi.
From what I saw of Mulgew at AFT conventions he didn't distinguish himself and Randi didn't give him much of a role while elevating former St. Paul teacher union head Mary Cathryn Ricker who I would put my money on as her successor.
There is some danger in not having a loyal base in NYC from the Unity Caucus people and that might be a factor.
But this is all fun speculation, and with the 2020 AFT convention coming to Houston where an endorsement of Joe Biden will take place, Randi may just stay put and wait for Trumpka to retire. But they are the same age so all balls are in the air. My money is on the status quo- Randi makes too much money and has a lot of power over her fiefdom.
The timing of the piece is curious, to say the least. Trumka has more than two years remaining in his current term, and the AFL-CIO doesn’t practice term limits. Trumka has been president for 10 years and, leaving out the short tenure of one interim president, previous presidents have served for 14, 16 and 24 years.
But, okay, let’s roll with it:
Trumka still has more than two years left in his third term at the helm, but that’s not stopping some of his possible successors from sniffing out potential support for a run if and when the seat opens. Three names are swirling as likely candidates to eventually replace Trumka, and at least two of them are making calls behind the scenes to try to build a backing, according to sources.Weingarten’s name has been floated in the past as a U.S. Senator and a Secretary of Education. I have no idea if she is interested in being president of the AFL-CIO. Clearly, neither does Bloomberg Law, but it didn’t stop them from posting a column about it.
…Randi Weingarten: The American Federation of Teachers president flirted with challenging Trumka in the last AFL-CIO election and has since been a prominent voice in highly publicized school house strikes. Weingarten is taking a page from the Paul Ryan for Speaker of the House playbook: She will publicly say she’s not interested in the job, while remaining open to the option behind the scenes if sufficiently urged to do so by others.
I can think of at least one good reason she wouldn’t want the job. She made $405,793 last year as AFT president. Trumka made $261,779.