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There is no "E" in AFL-CIO

January 5, 2006

John Sweeney, President of the AFL-CIO, held a briefing today to outline the union's plans to push the "Fair Share Health Care" campaign in state legislatures around the country. Patterned after legislation currently pending in Maryland, Sweeney pledged a state-by-state ground game in 30 different legislatures.

A ground game? What a snooze.

There was no mention on the call that the AFL-CIO would launch a blog, use mobile communications, or even place online advertising to promote their effort.  These are the tools of modern politics, but they are apparently not part of the AFL-CIO’s repertoire.

Other Unions are taking advantage of the web.  Both the UFCW and SEIU have launched online efforts in opposition to Wal-Mart practices.  SEIU has garnered a lot of attention for their Purple Ocean effort – a low-cost, hands-on counter to Wal-Mart’s high-intensity publicity campaign designed to raise awareness “person-by-person and city-by-city.” 

I’m not suggesting that John Sweeny launch a blog (ok, maybe I am it wouldn’t kill him to try it). But I would have liked to hear Sweeney recognize that the internet could have a big impact in this effort, or that his members might welcome the change from the traditional effort.

I’m making a list of suggestions for how the AFL-CIO could leverage technology to improve this effort. Any suggestions?; Post your thoughts in the comments.

Comments (2):

Here in Oregon, the president of the Oregon AFL-CIO - Tim Nesbitt - blogged his way through the big break-up of the national AFL-CIO.

Tim's since moved on to new challenges, but the lessons learned remain.

Jan 9, 2006 2:48:18 AM      Posted by Kari Chisholm.


Of course the AFL-CIO will use these tools. They are essential complements to old-fashioned grassroots organizing--although we would never say they could replace it.

The AFL-CIO has done an amazing job of getting the union movement set up with online activists tools and training through what we call the Working Families Network (WFN). Because of these efforts, we have more than 1,000 e-mail centers nationwide to communicate directly with nearly 4 million working family activists who are on the front lines of this fight.

In the recent Social Security fight alone, the activists of the AFL-CIO Working Families Network sent nearly 3 million messages and nearly 200,000 signed petitions to decision makers.

The AFL-CIO is preparing to launch a news blog carrying information to and from the broad union movement. We're looking forward to communicating our unique perspective on issues critical to working families through our blog.

It's great that you're taking an interest in union activity and highlighting it by blogging. We need more people talking about union issues online.

In solidarity,

Chris Kenngott
Online Mobilization Manger, AFL-CIO

Jan 16, 2006 11:45:56 AM      Posted by chris kenngott.

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