One of the major themes to emerge from this week's national conference of the AFL-CIO in Los Angeles is a push to expand union organizing beyond the traditional collective bargaining agreement and into every workplace.
And after some brief flirting, the AFL-CIO is ready to go steady with "workers centers," which are popping up around the nation to help organize workers in the service sector. Members of the AFL-CIO, an umbrella group for dozens of labor unions, approved a resolution this week to establish a more formal connection between the union and the workers centers that it has, in many cases, helped to start.
"The labor movement cannot be confined within bargaining units defined by government agencies or limited to workplaces where a majority of employees votes 'Yes' in the face of a ruthless campaign by their employer to deny them representation," the resolution reads.
The union said it would seek to organize workers who are not in traditional collective bargaining agreements and would "mobilize these new members in electoral and other political efforts and in support of organizing drives and collective bargaining campaigns."
To achieve that end, the AFL-CIO pledged to work more closely with "workers centers" and with foundations providing seed money to those centers.