VT United and Allies Letter to AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler

Liz Shuler, President, AFL-CIO

This is a letter addressed to AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler in response to the rerun of the VT State Labor Council election for the President and Executive Vice President seats,

Petition by
Burlington, Vermont
Sponsored by
Burlington, VT

To: Liz Shuler, President, AFL-CIO
From: [Your Name]

Dear President Shuler,

I am writing to you because I have concerns about your decision to order a rerun of the Vermont State Labor Council election of its top officers. It has interfered with the momentum of the Vermont State Labor Council’s work, and sets a troubling precedent for the entire labor movement.

For the past five years, the Vermont State Labor Council has managed to make tremendous union organizing progress across Vermont through their rank and file strategy. They have been directly empowering current and future union members by providing them the tools and information they need to function and organize effectively. They are striving to create a member run labor movement that is stronger through engagement and is independent from politicians. Their success is also exemplified by the passage of Vermont S.102, the Pro Act, which will give Workers in Vermont protections and capabilities. They were able to get the law passed, despite it being halted on a national level. It illustrates the importance of state level organizing and the AFL-CIO should be doing what it can to support those movements. Instead, your decision to order a rerun of the democratic leadership election at their well attended September convention, as well as other impositions by the national AFL-CIO has interfered with the Vermont State Labor Council’s momentum, diverting resources from their valuable work.

The decision to rerun their election is setting a damaging precedent for the entire labor movement. There has been no substantial evidence to establish that the actual vote was affected by how the election was conducted. It is wrong to overturn a rigorously run democratic election that shattered previous participation records. Our State Labor Councils are generally volunteer driven, and have limited access to assistance from professional staff. No local election will be perfect. Your decision negatively impacts every rank and file member, who took time away from their family for a weekend to participate at the convention. It also sets a precedent that any error, however small, could be used to toss out the democratic will of the voters. This could lead to a combination of disengagement of the workers; and chaos of endless election challenges in the years to come.

Please understand, I send this letter to you because I love the labor movement. I want to continue to build off the organizing successes we’ve had. I just worry that your decision weakens our movement instead of making it stronger.

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter.