The political consequences of the split within the AFL-CIO began to reverberate nationwide Tuesday, with Democrats fretting that it will dilute the importance of labor endorsements while Republicans looked for opportunities to make inroads.
Opportunity? Possibly. But given the fact that the two unions that left have historically been the most supportive of Republican candidates (the Teamsters supported Ronald Reagan), I’m not sure that having them in the AFL-CIO wasn’t better in some ways. If this is going to be an opportunity for Republicans, it would have to be from the Teamsters and the Service Workers outperforming the unions that stay in the AFL-CIO and eventually drawing more of them out of that basically socialist organization. Many, probably most, rank and file union members are much more conservative than the AFL-CIO leadership. Inside or outside the AFL-CIO, the leadership of these two unions have set the example for other member unions of considering their 401-k holding, homeowning, gun-toting member’s real needs ahead of their political cronies. The opportunity is in using the example to influence other union leaders where possible.