State labor federation takes their own approach to organizing

Labor friendly candidates and members of the labor community are winning elections nationwide. In Vermont, the labor community is taking on a new strategy to enact change to ensure labor friendly policies are enacted.

Vermont AFL-CIO President David Van Deusen joined America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss the politics of Vermont, action taken in the event that there was not a peaceful transition in the White House, neighboring states defeating so-called “Right to Work” and more.

Controlling Vermont politics

Politics in Vermont are unique, as there are three viable political parties. There are the Republicans, Democrats and a more progressive liberal party. The Vermont AFL-CIO is currently aligning with the progressive party.

Once known as a heavy Republican state, Vermont boasted a rural population with smaller cities, who made conservative politics popular. Currently, Democrats and progressives are leading the way and have overtaken the political scene.

Van Deusen is confident the organized labor community tipped the scales in recent elections by coming out in force and electing Democrats and progressives. As an example for other rural states, he added that organizing and messaging is key.

Voting in support of a general strike

Van Deusen acknowledged that he and others in the Vermont AFL-CIO were worried former President Trump would attempt a coup. His request of alternate delegates and increasingly dangerous speeches led the state federation to hold a vote on a general strike if a coup attempt were made. To the surprise of many, 87 percent of the delegates voted in favor of the strike.

In order to get this effort off the ground Van Deusen and others in the state federation and within the Burlington, Vt. government worked together. They also worked with the progressive party in order to influence the support.

According to Van Deusen, the federal AFL-CIO did not agree with their vote for a general strike. He said it was the least they could do to protect democracy.

New Hampshire defeats so-called “Right to Work”

So-called “Right to Work” was recently shot down in neighboring New Hampshire. While the Vermont AFL-CIO stood by in solidarity, the New Hampshire federation did a great job of defeating the matter.

Van Deusen went on to make a point that the labor community needs to go on the offensive. While it is okay to celebrate a so-called “Right to Work” law being defeated, it would be great to celebrate some offensive wins as well.


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