Rift within the AFL-CIO: Vanderbilt University labor expert available

Rift within the AFL-CIO about class, not power: Dan Cornfield,
Vanderbilt University labor expert and professor of sociology, says the
labor unions‘ split is not a power grab, but a response to the
AFL-CIO‘s not giving priority to recruiting low-wage workers. He says
the dissident unions tend to organize low-wage service and construction
workers — who are also disproportionately women, ethnic-racial
minorities and immigrants — while the unions who continue to identify
with the AFL-CIO tend to represent better-paid workers in the unionized
large corporations in heavy industry, communications, transportation,
the public sector and the skilled building trades. Cornfield believes a
full split among the unions could politically endanger the labor
movement, although it might lead to short-term membership gains and
improvement in the livelihoods of the lowest-paid workers.

Cornfield is editor of “Work and Occupations,” a scholarly
journal that covers work, employment and labor issues. He is the author
of more than 40 articles and seven books on work, employment and labor
issues, including his co-edited book, “Labor Revitalization: Global
Perspectives and New Initiatives.” To interview Cornfield, call
615-322-2706. After hours, call the Vanderbilt News Service pager at

Media contact: Princine Lewis, (615) 322-NEWS


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