This past year has been tough on unions. Michigan and Indiana both passed so-called “Right to Work” laws in 2012 that weaken unions’ ability to fight for workers’ rights. Union membership has continued to decline. And so it goes. So where is union leadership in the midst of this onslaught? Hard to say. Leadership in the operating engineers, for example, is facing federal lawsuits from its own members on charges of racketeering, breach of fiduciary duty, and even threats against these same members. Just recently, the AFL-CIO leadership seems to have acknowledged that it is at a loss as to what to do, and wants the rank and file to help them set a new direction.
We know that you, like AUD, believe that unions are worth fighting for. Historically, union members have better wages, benefits, retirement plans, workplace protections than non-unionized workers. In a faltering economy, access to health insurance, job protections, and pension plans are sometimes portrayed as “luxuries.” Rather, we know that like us, you believe these things should be available to all workers, not taken away from those who may have them now.
One of the best ways to make unions strong again is to create real union democracy. That’s where you come in. Your support is instrumental in allowing us to continue fighting for union democracy in the United States. You know from reading our newsletters that for 50 years AUD has helped rank and file union members become reformers and newly elected union leaders, has helped them to oust leaders who would embezzle or misuse union resources, and has helped reformers fight unfair labor practices within their workplace that their leadership turns a blind eye to.
These are the kinds of things we are asked to do every day at AUD- help people who believe in the labor movement and want it to prevail and who want to participate in their union’s decision making. And behind all of the “big picture stuff” AUD’s work for a democratic labor movement continues. From the outside it may seem that unions are going in the wrong direction, but unions – and union democracy – are still alive and fighting for you. Together, we can make unions strong and effective advocates for workers once again.
If you think this is important, if you want us here to do this -- and it has been AUD's mission since 1969 -- we ask you to support it. Please make a tax deductible donation today, so we can continue to be here every day for you and for the people who need us. Without support from the rank and file, and from the general public, we cannot go on. Thank you so much!