The Labor Movement

By Martin Leatherman,
Even as income and union membership declines for America’s working class, problems of forced labor and low working standards worldwide are driving new activist movements. Many concerns are focused on the AFL-CIO, the leading federation of traditional U.S. industrial unions. John Sweeney, president of the group, is under pressure from dissidents to make huge changes in priorities, including a new emphasis on organizing over lobbying. Andrew Stern, president of the growing Service Employees International Union, is even calling for Sweeny’s removal. At its peak in the 1960s, about 30 percent of workers in the United States were unionized.