FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Kelber Challenges Trumka for Head of AFL-CIO

by RUSSELL MOKHIBER

Harry Kelber will challenge Richard Trumka for the presidency of the AFL-CIO at the labor union’s convention September 8-12, 2013 in Los Angeles. Remember Harry Kelber? He’s a labor activist and writer who runs The Labor Educator. Every week, Kelber evicerates the leaders of the AFL-CIO for not actively challenging the corrupt corporate establishment in Washington, for paying 131 of its executives more than $100,000 a year, and for censoring any criticism of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In an interview with Corporate Crime Reporter last year, Kelber said that Trumka was all talk, no action. “Trumka makes speeches to please the membership,” Kelber told Corporate Crime Reporter last year. “But there is no action to do anything. He comes out as an advocate of change, and he ends up without change. He had all kinds of possible opportunity for non violent action to express the discontent of American workers.”

Here’s the thing about Kelber – he has a sense of timing. He announced his candidacy to challenge Trumka June 20, 2012 – on his 98th birthday. He’ll be 99 at the time of the AFL-CIO’s election next September.

“This is not a frivolous decision,” Kelber said today. “My candidacy guarantees that there will be an actual election, with a printed ballot and serious debates on the issues confronting American workers and their unions at the AFL-CIO Convention.”

“Trumka and his bureaucratic group have no plans to rebuild the Federation,” Kelber said. “They have a record of legislative failures. Trumka makes crowd-pleasing speeches, but he has avoided any direct action that will command the attention of either Congress or the White House.”

“I’m going for all of the marbles,” Kelber said. “I’m going to challenge the corrupt, incompetent and self-serving activities of the AFL’s leadership.”

But Kelber said that “Trumka relies on a corrupt clause in the AFL-CIO Constitution to guarantee him re-election without having to face a rival candidate in the quadrennial presidential election. That clause gives international unions as many votes as their members, but it incredibly limits State AFL-CIOs and Central Labor Councils to only one delegate and one convention vote apiece.”

“Thus, at the AFL-CIO’s 2009 convention, each of the 20 delegates from the huge American Federation of Teachers had 50,000 convention votes, while the 2-million members of the New York State AFL and California AFL were awarded only one convention vote each.”

“This outrageously undemocratic provision is what keeps Trumka and his cronies in power,” Kelber said. “If this poisonous clause is eliminated from the Constitution and replaced by a guarantee for honest and open elections, Trumka would be virtually powerless. He has no significant base to rely on.”

“If a 98-year-old unionist is willing to spend his remaining time to fight for an honest, democratic AFL-CIO, there must be hundreds, probably thousands, of labor activists with the skills and experience to challenge Trumka and his hand-picked Executive Council. The AFL-CIO’s 2013 convention will be held in Los Angeles on September 8-12. That is 15 months away and there is a lot to be done in the interim.”

Russell Mokhiber edits the Corporate Crime Reporter.

Russell Mokhiber is the editor of the Corporate Crime Reporter..

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

January 19, 2017
Melvin Goodman
America’s Russian Problem
John W. Whitehead
Nothing is Real: When Reality TV Programming Masquerades as Politics
Mike Whitney
The Trump Speech That No One Heard 
Conn Hallinan
Is Europe Heading for a “Lexit”?
Stephen Cooper
Truth or Twitter? Why Donald Trump Is No John Steinbeck
Binoy Kampmark
Scoundrels of Patriotism: The Freeing of Chelsea Manning
Ramzy Baroud
The Balancing Act is Over: What Elor Azaria Taught Us about Israel
Josh Hoxie
Why Health Care Repeal is a Stealth Tax Break for Millionaires
Kim C. Domenico
It’s High Time for a Politics of Desire
Shamus Cooke
Inauguration Day and Beyond
Clark T. Scott
More and More Lousy
David Swanson
Samantha Power Can See Russia from Her Padded Cell
Yoav Litvin
Time to Diss Obey- The Failure of Identity Politics and Protest
Kevin Carson
Right to Work and the Apartheid State
Malaika H. Kambon
Resisting the Lynching of Haitian Liberty!
January 18, 2017
Gary Leupp
The Extraordinary Array of Those Questioning Trump’s Legitimacy (and Their Various Reasons)
Charles Pierson
Drone Proliferation Ramps Up
Ajamu Baraka
Celebrating Dr. King with the Departure of Barack Obama
David Underhill
Trumpology With a Twist
Chris Floyd
Infinite Jest: Liberals Laughing All the Way to Hell
Stansfield Smith
Obama’s Hidden Role in Worsening Climate Change
Ron Leighton
Trump is Not Hitler: How the Misuse of History Distorts the Present as Well as the Past
Ralph Nader
An Open Letter to President-Elect Donald Trump
Binoy Kampmark
NATO and Obsolescence: Donald Trump and the History of an Alliance
Zarefah Baroud
‘The Power to Create a New World’: Trump and the Environmental Challenge Ahead
Julian Vigo
Obama Must Pardon the Black Panthers in Prison or in Exile
Alfredo Lopez
The Whattsapp Scandal
Clancy Sigal
Russian Hacking and the Smell Test
Terry Simons
The Truth About Ethics and Condoms
January 17, 2017
John Pilger
The Issue is Not Trump, It is Us
John K. White
Is Equality Overrated, Too?
Michael J. Sainato
The DNC Hands the Democratic Party Over to David Brock and Billionaire Donors
John Davis
Landscapes of Shame: America’s National Parks
Andrew Smolski
Third Coast Pillory: Politicians and Rhetorical Tricks
Chris Busby
The Scientific Hero of Chernobyl: Alexey V. Yablokov, the Man Who Dared to Speak the Truth
David Macaray
Four Reasons Trump Will Quit
Chet Richards
The Vicissitudes of the Rural South
Clancy Sigal
“You Don’t Care About Jobs”: Why the Democrats Lost
Robert Dodge
Martin Luther King and U.S. Politics: Time for a U.S. Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Jack Sadat Lee
I Dream of Justice for All the Animal Kingdom
James McEnteer
Mourning Again in America
January 16, 2017
Paul Street
How Pure is Your Hate?
Jeffrey St. Clair - Alexander Cockburn
Did the Elites Have Martin Luther King Jr. Killed?
Robert Hunziker
Global Warming Clobbers Ocean Life
Patrick Cockburn
The Terrifying Parallels Between Trump and Erdogan
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail