FIFTY YEARS AGO unions seemed invincible, but they’ve been losing battles and members ever since. The reasons their fortunes fell suggest that they’re sure to rise again.
On October 24, 1995, in the thick of a bitter contest for the presidency of the AFL-CIO, John J. Sweeney, leader of the dissident forces, rose to address the union’s convention. If the delegates were “tired of being treated like so much road kill on the highway of American life,” he said, they must reject the Status quo and vote for him. He promised more activism and more organizing. Apparently most delegates needed little persuasion. They elected him president by a substantial margin.
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