Thursday, August 5, 2021

AFL-CIO Trumpka Dead, Is Randi in play to succeed? Implications for AFT/UFT? Flight Attendent union leader and progressive Sara Nelson in running

Maybe I've been wrong on Mulgrew becoming AFT president. Imagine the scenario where Randi runs for AFL-CIO and wins (not so sure about that) and Mulgrew moves up -- Mulgrew wariness in the UFT might just make that enticing. Who would replace Mulgrew? Inside betting is on Leroy Barr. A former UFT president has been AFT president for 43 of the past 47 years.

This is a very disjointed piece based on old published and unpublished info I've been storing until the election was announced - which was in 2022. These articles are from pre-pandemic times mostly when the election was scheduled.

May 16, 2019 - Is Randi After Trumpka's Job? Would that make Mulgrew AFT President? .. Ed Notes - 

If she wants to be AFL-CIO president, she's going to have to break Trumka's kneecaps.... A source

For the record, Trunpka died of a heart attack, not knee capping, but check alibis.

Speculation has already begun. Will Randi run, as there have been indications in the past? Will Sara Nelson, a Bernie wing union leader also run? Does this set up another battle of progressives vs center/right Dems? And if Randi runs and wins who heads the AFT? Does Mulgrew follow the historic pattern since 1964 (other than 1966-74, 2006-10) where a UFT President runs the AFT? And if there is this chain reaction, who runs for president of the UFT in 2022?

Breaking News: Richard Trumka, the longtime A.F.L.-C.I.O. president and an influential voice in Democratic politics, died at 72 after having a heart attack

Under the A.F.L.-C.I.O. constitution, the federation’s current secretary-treasurer, Liz Shuler, will take over as president until its executive council can meet to elect a successor. The federation’s next presidential election was originally scheduled to take place this year, but was delayed until next year because of the pandemic.

Sara Nelson, President of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, is a contender.
If it's Randi vs Sara, that's the repeat of the Biden/Bernie or any of the internal Dem Party battles.

Sept, 2020 - Jacobin: How We Can Elect Sara Nelson as President of the AFL-CIO

 The Guardian reported in July 2019 that Trumka intends to back current AFL-CIO secretary-treasurer Liz Shuler. Many labor activists, however, hope that the militant and charismatic president of the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA), Sara Nelson, throws her hat in — meaning that for only the second time in its history, the AFL-CIO might have a contested race for its presidency... When voting for AFL-CIO president, however, each delegate will get to cast a number of votes equal to the number of members they represent. So an international with a million members will get a million votes, split equally among the twenty delegates.

The Jacobin article, which doesn't address a Randi candidacy, has good historical analysis. 

Here's a piece from Bloomberg Law May 2019 that does:

Punching In: A Game of Thrones at the AFL-CIO (1)

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.

  • Liz Shuler: The AFL-CIO secretary-treasurer has long been seen as the heir apparent. She was largely the public face of the federation’s successful effort to kill right-to-work legislation in Missouri last year.
  • 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.
  • Sara Nelson: The head honcho at the Association of Flight Attendants’ has seen her star rising since she helped ground last year’s government shutdown. She’s looking to use that momentum to capture the AFL-CIO crown.

I've always maintained this was the job Randi really wanted more than Ed Secty - Shanker wanted this too but at that time teacher unions didn't have enough sway in the AFL-CIO -- and if there was a united NEA/AFT that would give Randi more muscle.

Posted: 14 May 2019 09:43 AM PDT

Bloomberg Law runs a column called the Daily Labor Report, and this week the lead item is about who is waiting in the wings to challenge AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka.

I never thought Mulgrew had the right stuff to be AFT president but maybe given the sudden changes he just might be, 

Maybe I'm wrong on Mulgrew. Imagine the scenario where Randi runs and wins (not so sure about that) and Mulgrew moves up -- and Mulgrew wariness in the UFT might just make that enticing.

I've had the info below prepped to go for well over a year in unpublished Part 2 though I did publish

Sept. 30, 2020   - Speculation on Weingarten and Mulgrew futures - Part 1

July 11, 2019

Speculation: Weingarten for AFL-CIO? Impact on UFT? Part 2

The myth that AFT president Randi Weingarten was up for the Ed Secty cabinet post in the Biden administration has exploded - finally. I've been arguing years that not only would Randi be unlikely, but that is a position she would not want and was unsuitable for. Randi likes to run her own ship and also loves the power and autonomy AFT president affords her - as long as she has the backing of Unity Caucus in NYC which controls the 1.7 million member AFT

Part 1

With rumors going around that Randi Weingarten is considering a run for AFL-CIO president, (more likely) or might be up for Education Secretary in a Biden administration (less likely), it is worth taking a look at the possible future of the AFT which also affects the future of the UFT (UFT former presidents have served as AFT presidents for 42 of the past 46 years). 

I wrote in Part 1 - 

With speculation growing about Randi's future, Mulgrew's future must enter into the picture. In this 3 part series I will speculate about the possibility Mulgrew may very well not be the Unity Caucus UFT presidential candidate in the 2022 election, depending on just how bad the conditions in the schools get and how relatively weak Mulgrew looks.

Recent articles, from the left (Jacobin) and from the right (Mike Antonucci/Intercepts), addressed another upcoming election, for AFL-CIO president if Richard Trumpka retires - or is pushed. How would Randi's leaving the AFT affect the UFT and Mulgrew?

But then again she may just decide to remain and try to move toward a merger of the NEA and AFT into a 4 million plus union - with the aim of leading it.

A reminder: The UFT's Unity Caucus dominates the New York State NYSUT union which in turn dominates the AFT by sheer numbers.

The membership numbers of a union count when voting for AFL-CIO president since it is a weighted vote based on each union's membership numbers.

I posted the first installment of this series in which I reviewed some history of Randi's possible interest in the AFL-CIO and made the case for why that might be attractive even if it is in essence a less powerful position than AFT president - with a significantly lower salary.

Speculation on Weingarten and Mulgrew futures - Part 1

In this segment I explore the idea of a potential battle between Randi. representing the Democratic Party center vs. airline flight attendant leader Sara Nelson who represents the left Bernie wing, an interesting replay of recent battles in the Dem Party that will certainly heat up after the election. With Lily Eskelson-Garcia having been term limited in the NEA she is more likely to get the Dept of Education position - and she is way more educational while Randi is more political, not having had a whole lot of rea; teaching experience.

American Federation of Teachers Membership Rose in 2020 — or Fell, Depending on How You Look at It 

Labor Department has just released the union’s LM-2 to the public.

Unlike those of the National Education Association, AFT membership numbers are notoriously difficult to decipher. It is noteworthy, and somewhat surprising, that the union reported an increase of nearly 12,000 members this year. It is the first full year after most members have had an open resignation window to leave the union, due to the U.S. Supreme Court’s Janus ruling in 2018.

A closer examination of the numbers reveals that while the precipitous loss of members unions feared has not occurred, AFT did indeed lose working members in 2020. The reported gain is courtesy of 22,000 new retired members.

Active members who convert to retired member status are good for AFT’s membership numbers, but not so good for its bottom line. They go from paying $19.58 each month in dues to paying zero. Strictly from a financial perspective, they are no different from lost members or former agency fee payers. 

Association of Flight Attendants president Sara Nelson calls on Congress to pass an extension of the Payroll Support Program outside the US Capitol on September 22, 2020 in Washington, DC. Chip Somodevilla / Getty

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