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LaborTalk (July 12, 2006)

Agreement on Labor Unity in 2006 Election
By Harry Kelber

LABOR ACTIVISTS WERE heartened that the AFL-CIO and Change to Win, despite their rivalry, have agreed to work together in the 2006 congressional and state elections. On May 9, they created a National Labor Coordinating Committee to engage in a joint effort to mobilize union members for political activity in the remaining months before Election Day,

A statement by AFL-CIO President John Sweeney and Change to Win Chair Anna Burger said that "the entire labor movement is united by the desire to make working peoples' issues the country's priority this election year, and we are taking all the necessary steps to effectively coordinate our efforts toward this end."

Karen Ackerman, AFL-CIO's political director, said that committee members are discussing which congressional races to focus on, as well as campaign issues and election strategy, although no decisions have been publicly announced. She said the AFL-CIO was continuing with its own election plans as well, including the preparation of campaign literature.

CTW spokeswoman Carole Forman said the two federations will coordinate "what we agree to do together" and will share the cost of joint activities.

Jodie Sakol, an AFSCME spokeswoman, said that the committee's goal is to mobilize union members around issues. The committee will "develop the message and get the message out to the respective membership of each federation." The committee won't receive or distribute money, she added.

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