Monday, April 25, 2011

New SEIU Plan: Nationwide Protests

The new plan, revealed in a planning document reviewed by POLITICO and the subsequent interview with Henry, reflects the widening recognition by labor leaders that the shrinking national ranks of union members no longer carry the political heft they once did. The draft plan, titled “Fight for a Fair Economy” in what Henry said was a preliminary planning document, would reach outside union ranks to focus on “mobilizing underpaid, underemployed, and unemployed workers” and “channeling anger about jobs into action for positive change.”

The plan does not revolve as centrally around the 2012 elections as the SEIU’s political program did in 2008, when it was the largest outside supporter of candidate Obama. It does, however, aim to organize public campaigns for economic issues around “national flash points” including this August’s recess, corporate shareholder meetings next spring, and the debates and conventions next year. Henry was elected last year with a promise to re-orient the union, and some Democratic officials worry the change will mean a less intense focus on their party’s needs.