Thursday, September 12, 2013

New AFL-CIO VP Tefere Gebre : Workers Realizing Their Own Power Can Revitalize Labor In The South

Posted: September 10, 2013 by laborradio

By Doug Cunningham

As labor activists and union leaders meeting in Los Angeles look for tactics and strategies that will succeed in revitalizing the labor movement, an inspiring example has come from an unlikely location – Orange County, California. For decades it has been a Republican dominated conservative area and yet Tefere Gebre has managed to lead a robust local labor movement in that county. The Ethiopian immigrant is about to become the new Vice-President of the AFL-CIO. He says labor can win for workers even in places like Orange county and in southern states, which have long been hostile to unions.
[Tefere Gebre]: “If we can do it in Orange County there is no reason why we cannot do it in Mississippi, why we cannot do it in Alabama, why we cannot do it in Texas.”
Cebre says working people can only improve their lives through organized power, worker power not dependent on laws or on politicians or on politics.
[Tefere Cebre 2]: “It is bringing people together and saying ‘we have to realize our own power’. We can’t count on politicians or pollsters or consultants to deliver that power for us.  That’s what we have done in Orange County and that’s what we’re gonna do in Texas, Arizona, Alabama, South Carolina. I am excited about re-affiliating and re-bringing the south into the labor movement and not writing it off.”

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