“The AFL-CIO’s executive council ‘looks like the front porch of an all-white-male nursing home,'” says former staffer.
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Following AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka’s April suspension of the union federation’s executive vice president Tefere Gebre over a $117 strip club from last year—which seems to have sparked a feud within the House of Labor—several former AFL-CIO staffers are speaking out publicly against Richard Trumka’s leadership.
“I had high hopes,” David Eckstein, a former 15-year organizing official at the AFL-CIO said in an interview published on Splinter. “But it didn’t take long for any of us to see what was happening.”
“Eckstein says that Trumka is an ‘arrogant’ boss who showed a lack of interest in new organizing—’The overall AFL-CIO wasn’t organizing anything’—and whose tenure quickly had a detrimental effect on the federation’s staff, and on women in particular. He says that many women left the AFL-CIO in the ensuing years, tired of being ‘browbeaten,’ passed over for promotions, and treated with disrespect. ‘They never tried to make it family-friendly for women with children to be field organizers,’ he says, pushing organizing staff with a strenuous schedule that demanded two weeks of travel followed by just three days at home. ‘They felt beat down.’
“Over time, Eckstein says, the AFL-CIO has lost diversity in its staff, even as Trumka has surrounded himself with a group of close advisers who are mostly older men…”
“The AFL-CIO’s executive council (which is elected, not appointed by Trumka) ‘looks like the front porch of an all-white-male nursing home,’ Eckstein says.”
Criticism of Trumka was also shared by Stewart Acuff, the AFL-CIO’s national organizing director from 2001-2010.
Acuff claims Trumka “flat-out” never supported union organizing.
“He just showed no interest in organizing,” Acuff says.
“Acuff characterizes Trumka as a ‘jealous and controlling’ leader, and says he was effectively pushed out of the federation under him.”
Is the same thing happening to Tefere Gebre perhaps?
“Why in hell,” asks Acuff, “would any trade unionist try to destroy a man over $117?”
To be sure, the feud at the top of the AFL-CIO seems to be only beginning. It is likely that, as labor leaders choose sides, more will spill out into public view.
Read the entire article here.
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