South Bay Democrats Show the Way with Resolution in Support of a United Labor Movement
By Jim Miller
Last week, the first meeting of the newly reorganized San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council was a refreshingly upbeat gathering as the local movement recommitted itself to weathering the storm and reinventing the Labor Council as a far more democratic and activist organization that will do everything it can to engage union members and organize the unorganized.
One of the most encouraging moments of the night came when Doug Moore of the United Domestic Workers spoke about the pressing need to rebuild real, less transactional relationships with our allies in the community. This is a very good thing.
So the news out of the Labor Council is that rank and file democracy is on its way back. The organization that still represents 90,000 of the 120,000 union workers in our region has righted the ship despite the failure of the former top leadership and the ill-advised, deeply destructive behavior of a handful of leaders who acted in a unilateral fashion as they unethically planned to form a rival organization even as they were being paid out of the dues money of all union workers in the San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council.
But the elephant in the room for those outside of the Labor Movement is how they should deal with the new rogue group. Fortunately, there was promising news on that front as the South Bay Democratic Club passed a “Resolution in Support of a United Labor Movement” that should serve as a model for the entirety of the San Diego Democratic Party as well as community groups that may be pressured into joining or formally recognizing Kasparian’s and Bankhead’s breakaway group.
As I noted in my first column on the crisis in San Diego Labor, a divided movement will hurt progressive politics in that the inevitably competing political programs will drain resources that would be better used in a more coherent strategic fashion. In sum, a fractured labor movement might benefit individual politicians seeking to divide and conquer in distinct primary battles but it will hurt the progressive movement as a whole when there are fewer resources left to defeat the right at the end of the day.
The answer, simply put, is to recognize the San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council “as the sole legitimate collective voice of the local labor movement” and to “not lend any support or legitimacy to the splinter ‘council.’” This is eminently sound thinking and we can only hope, for the larger, long-term good of the progressive movement as a whole in San Diego that the Democratic Party and local activist organizations follow the lead of the South Bay Democratic Club’s resolution.
You can find the entire text of the resolution below:
RESOLUTION IN SUPPORT OF A UNITED LABOR MOVEMENT
WHEREAS the AFL-CIO recently determined that the former leadership of the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council was sowing disunity and dysfunction within the local labor movement; and
WHEREAS on May 8, 2017, the AFL-CIO removed these former leaders and appointed a Trustee to help the local Labor Council resolve its internal tensions; and
WHEREAS the former leaders of the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council are now threatening to divide the local labor movement by creating a splinter “council” which will compete with the Labor Council; and to “not lend any support or legitimacy to the splinter ‘council’
WHEREAS a strong and united labor movement is a critical ally in our efforts as Democrats to successfully resist the attacks on our communities by the Trump Administration; and
WHEREAS there does not appear to be any principled basis to justify an institutional split in the local labor movement; and
WHEREAS the stakes are too high to allow anybody to put personal ego and ambition above the needs of our communities and our movements;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the South Bay Democratic Club reaffirms its recognition of the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council as the sole legitimate collective voice of the local labor movement; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this Club will continue to support individual unions in their workplace struggles, regardless of affiliation, but will not lend any support or legitimacy to the splinter “council”; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this Club will encourage Democratic candidates and elected officials within our jurisdiction to reaffirm their support for a united labor movement here in San Diego County; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that a copy of this Resolution will be forwarded to the South Area Caucus of the San Diego County Democratic Party for possible action.
For the previous installment of this series, go here.