The Situational Ethics of Union ‘Raiding’

by Steve Early

Steve Early

Steve Early

No subject arouses the passion of labor officials more than “raiding.” In his blustery maiden address as president of the AFL-CIO, Rich Trumka won thunderous applause this week at the federation’s convention in Pittsburgh by announcing that anyone daring to “raid an AFL-CIO union will find 1,000 organizers coming to the rescue of that union.”

In unions that too often treat their own members like chattel, there are few threats greater, within the “house of labor,” than an affiliate which tries to steal the dues-paying “property” of another.

The very term used to describe this activity conjures up images of unfriendly Native American visits to the first European colonies in North America. In labor circles, “raiding” almost always has a negative connotation.

Unless, of course, your own union is the one dispatching the “raiding party.”

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