‘The idea that a leftist political organization would launch disruptive attacks on their ostensible allies in the labor movement is the definition of cutting off your nose to spite your face…’
(Claire Russel, Liberty Headlines) New York City’s far-left activists have a new target: labor unions.
Once closely allied with the unions, a growing number of liberals have grown tired of the union establishment and are arguing unions not longer adequately represent the modern Democratic worker.
These leftists, led by the likes of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio–Cortez, D-NY, are working to push the Democratic Party farther left, which means disconnecting it from populist movements of the past, including labor unions.
Grassroots activism is taking over this new Left. Recall, not a single union endorsed Ocasio–Cortez during her congressional campaign last year.
The freshman congresswoman has continued to defend unions and the right to organize. Last month, she attacked the president of Barstool Sports over his dislike of unions.
But there’s a growing disconnect between the grassroots organizations that propelled her to Congress—specifically the Democratic Socialists of America—and the established union leadership, according to the New York Times.
Recently, the New York City branch of the Democratic Socialists of America has been leading the charge against the unions’ “rank-and-file strategy,” encouraging union members to reform their unions’ policies form within.
The DSA passed around a 37-page memo detailing its plan, which led union leaders to accuse the radical leftists of sabotage.
This disconnect could seriously hurt liberal activists, said Peter Ward, the president of the Hotel Trades Council, a union of hotel workers.
“Given the political moment we find ourselves in, the idea that a leftist political organization would launch disruptive attacks on their ostensible allies in the labor movement is the definition of cutting off your nose to spite your face,” Ward said.
But activists maintain that the labor movement is no longer in line with progressive policies.
“This growing left sees labor as its natural allies,” said Jeremy Saunders, the co-executive director of VOCAL-NY, an activist group in the city, “but is frustrated by some unions who too often side with those same politics and politicians who refuse to fight for justice.”
Unions’ political interests “prohibit them from being able to take real chances,” said Bianca Cunningham, a leader of the NYC DSA chapter.
“We’re not surprised that conservative unions come out and say they don’t support this kind of strategy,” she said, “because they see it as a threat to their own power.”