International Diplomacy and the Politics of Organized Labor

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In the 1950's, 36% of America's private sector workers belonged to unions. Today, it's down to just 8%, despite the efforts of AFL-CIO President John Sweeney, who took over ten years ago. Now, at 71, Sweeney plans to stand for re-election this July. Challenging his leadership are five major unions that represent 40% of unionized workers. This "Gang of Five" is comprised of the Laborers, Teamsters, Service Employees International, United Food and Commercial Workers and Unite Here, which represents hotel, restaurant and apparel workers. In this so-called WalMart economy, we hear from economists, journalists and labor leaders about the bitter battle to unseat Sweeny and the debate that's raging between the AFL-CIO and dissident unions that want less spent on politics and more on getting new members.
  • Making News: Tense Atmosphere as Senate Committee Debates Bolton
    At a much-awaited Senate committee hearing today, Ohio Republican John Voinovich delivered a scathing critique of John Bolton, President Bush's nominee as Ambassador to the UN. After all that, Voinovich said he would not be so "arrogant" as to impose his judgment on the rest of the Senate. Gail Chaddock, who is covering the hearing for the Christian Science Monitor, says splits within the Republican Party will not block Bolton's confirmation.
  • Reporter's Notebook: Yank Glazer Riles UK with Controlling Stake in Manchester United
    Manchester United failed to make the finals in Europe's Champions League football Tournament this year, but it's still the world's most profitable organization of its kind. That's no comfort to British soccer fans, though, as American investor Malcolm Glazer has made good on his threat to buy a controlling interest. Nick Harris, who writes about sports for the Independent newspaper, explains the reason for the British angst.
"Gang of Five"
  • AFL-CIO, American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations
  • International Brotherhood of Teamsters
  • LIUNA, Laborers' International Union of North America
  • SEIU, Service Employees International
  • UFCW, United Food and Commercial Workers
  • United Here

UN Ambassador-designate John Bolton

Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings on John Bolton

Meyerson's article on the late labor leader Miguel Contreras

Manchester United


Malcolm Glazer



Warren Olney