The Note: Impossible Schemes

And Note Art Pulaski's optimism and hope (which, as Cornel West will tell you, are quite different) about the unions remaining in the federation helping to make up the significant financial shortfall.

The Washington Post's Tom Edsall zeroes in on the political ramifications as well: "One immediate political consequence is that the AFL-CIO will no longer be able to coordinate get-out-the-vote drives that include Teamsters and SEIU members and their families. Under the law, the AFL-CIO can only mobilize voters who are in member unions." LINK

Will politicians take sides?

"Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) offered his unequivocal support Monday for embattled AFL-CIO President John Sweeney, just as the once tightly knit coalition of labor unions Sweeney heads began to splinter," reports Roll Call's Mark Preston and Erin Billings.

More: "Democrats said they are not concerned the split would give Republicans an opportunity to make inroads into the labor movement. But privately they acknowledge the schism could weaken a united campaign front heading into the 2006 election."

"'At a time when the White House and [Republican operatives] are doing a good job mustering their resources, one of the most stalwart engines of the Democratic Party both in terms of money and workers is splintering,' said a senior Democratic Senate aide, who would speak only on the condition of anonymity."

USA Today's Stephanie Armour ponders the future of organizing. LINK

Harold Meyerson has been waiting for more than a year to write this particular Washington Post column. " . . . . the forces for unity of any kind are growing weaker by the day. Fewer dissident leaders are voicing the kinds of reservations about leaving that were audible just a few weeks ago. Yesterday, for the first time, Stern and Hoffa began to sketch the outlines of a new organization -- indeed, Hoffa promised to split the $10 million that the Teamsters would have paid in AFL-CIO dues between his own union's organizing department and a new organizing infrastructure that the yet-to-be-founded alliance will house." LINK

"In planning to build a new federation with some organizing capacity of its own, the dissidents are harking back to the old CIO, which, with Lewis at its helm, roared out of the old AFL determined to unionize America's industrial workers. The economic and political environment is decidedly more hostile to organizing now than it was then, but Stern, Hoffa and their allies recognize that they will have to win victories on a CIO-like scale to justify their split. No one can say whether the birth of this new labor movement will lead to a desperately needed reversal in fortune for America's workers. Some stars, after all, burn most brightly just before they altogether flicker out."

Noam Levey of the Los Angeles Times takes a Golden State look at how the union split may or may not impact the special election this year. LINK

"Galvanized by the fight against Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and strengthened by a decade of organizing success, Southern California union leaders promised Monday they would find ways to keep the regional labor movement working together despite the split of the national AFL-CIO."

"But doing so could pose considerable challenges to union officials, who have built the Los Angeles labor movement into one of the region's most formidable political forces."

Bush agenda:

The New York Times' Edmund Andrews rounds up the President's CAFTA vote round-up. LINK

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