Reorganizing Unions in the South

During the International Labor Communications Association (ILCA) convention in Raleigh, NC, panelists discussed how Southern unions need to find ways to reorganize.

“We can create not just a new South, but a new labor movement,” North Carolina AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasure MaryBe Millian told the delegates.

The South must respond to meet the demands on demographic changes “with its current high population, low-wage economy and anti-union attitudes.” The reoccurring issue of race among employers must be addressed, which can sometimes be used against workers seeking out employment.

The objective of the speakers’ panel was to address and unite all white and minority workers regarding issues that extend beyond race, and against the powerful elite that use race against workers.

“If we don’t take the South seriously, we’re not taking our people seriously, we’re not taking our movement seriously and we’re not taking our country seriously,” said AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Tefere Gebre.

Some options for Southern union reorganization include the extension of mass workers’ movements, such as Fightfor15, farther into the South and labor media representation of real stories.

Most importantly, Richard Bensinger, the former AFL-CIO Organizing Director emphasized the significance on “moral value of treating workers—and people—as human beings.”

Source: PAI