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Update: SEIU, Teamsters, UFCW, UNITE-HERE to Boycott AFL-CIO Convention

Jonathan Tasini, a labor blogger and former president of the National Writer's Union, has been the first to press with breaking news from the AFL-CIO in convention. This is yet another example of how blogs and independent journalism are transforming the media landscape.

Okay, my friends, here's a report from the Change To Win coalition rally. Let's start up front--it confirms what I reported earlier today: the Teamsters, UNITE HERE, UFCW and SEIU will not attend the convention that begins tomorrow.

In addition, a letter has been sent to John Sweeney which tells him that the following current vice presidents of the Executive Council--all members of the Coalition--will not accept any nomination for office nor run for re-election at the convention: Stuart Applebaum (RWDSU), Clayola Brown (UNITE HERE), Jack Cipriani (Teamsters), Joe Hansen (UFCW), Jim Hoffa (Teamsters), Terry O-Sullivan (Laborers), Bruce Raynor (UNITE HERE), Dennis Rivera (SEIU), Arturo Rodriquez (Farmworkers), Andy Stern (SEIU) and John Wilhelm (UNITE HERE). So, John Sweeney has 11 slots to fill--it will be interesting to see how gets tapped...will diversity play a role or not?

Back to the rally: it was held in the Hyatt Hotel which is across the river, a bit diagonally, from the Sheraton. Some Machinists union members tried to crash the party but the coalition prevented them from entering the hall, which was in a lower level ballroom. The crowd was smaller than the earlier pro-Sweeney rally but just as enthusiastic.

The presidents of the unions entered into the hall from the main doorways to rythmic clapping and cheering, mounting a stage up front that held delegates from the 7 unions. Anna Burger, who is the coalition's chair and secretary-treasurer of SEIU, read an opening statement (the prepared text is pretty close to her delivered remarks with a few minor changes).

After the rally, an AFL-CIO press person handed out a press release with a statement from Sweeney reacting to the decision not to attend the convention.



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