By Miriam Raftery
May 13, 2017 (San Diego) – The national AFL-CIO, California Labor Federation, and a majority of local unions will continue their affiliation with the San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council, according to a press release issued by the AFL-CIO. The reaffirmation of support for the Labor Council and its backing of working families comes after eight unions announced last week that they would leave to join a new San Diego Counties Working Council being formed by ousted Labor Council President Mickey Kasparian, as ECM reported.
Those unions staying with the Labor Council represent a range of workers in both the public sector and private sector including teachers, firefighters, nurses, home care, transportation, construction, university employees and many others. With support from local unions, the state federation and the AFL-CIO, the labor council will emerge stronger than ever, regaining its vibrancy and will continue to serve as a strong, unified voice for workers throughout the region, the AFL-CIO contends.
“Having a unified, effective labor council in San Diego is of critical importance to the AFL-CIO and its affiliated unions,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “Every day union members at the grassroots level are creating an economy that works for all by bargaining for better wages and pushing for policies that benefit all workers. The national federation is committed to ensuring that this work continues.”
“The San Diego-Imperial Labor Council, AFL-CIO, has a longstanding tradition of promoting workers’ interests throughout the region and scoring major victories for all working people,” said California Labor Federation Executive Secretary-Treasurer Art Pulaski. “Local and statewide unions are committed to ensuring the labor council in San Diego is a dynamic voice for good wages, strong workers protections and a brighter economic future for local families.”
“The only way to achieve major gains for workers in San Diego is through a unified labor movement that fights every day for the economic interests of all working people in our region,” said Doug Moore, Executive Director of United Domestic Workers, AFSCME Local 3930, the largest local union in the San Diego region. “It’s absolutely crucial to have a labor council that brings workers together around a shared agenda that strengthens our communities. We’ll work tirelessly with other unions in the region to ensure the San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council is the region’s unified voice for workers.”
“Working people in this region are well served by a labor council that can achieve big advances, like a higher minimum wage and good jobs that pay a fair wage for a hard day’s work,” said Carlos Cota, Executive Board member for IATSE District 2 and Executive Board member of the San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council. “We’re proud to be a partner with scores of other unions in strengthening the labor council so it can be the unified powerhouse of working people that advocates for our region’s working families.”
The California Labor Federation is the largest state federation of labor unions in the country, representing 1,200 local unions across California. The AFL-CIO is the largest federation of unions in America. The San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council is affiliated with both the state labor federation and the AFL-CIO nationally.
The announcements come on the heels of the national AFL-CIO announcing a monitorship on the San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council to unify divisions within the labor council and bolster the council’s effectiveness and operations. The goal of the monitorship is to bring leaders together to find solutions to unify the San Diego labor movement.
Kasparian was removed as president of the Labor Council amid lawsuits alleging discrimination and sexual harassment against women with whom he worked. Kasparian maintains he is innocent.