Why Labor Imperialism? AFL-CIO’s Foreign Policy Leaders and the Developing World

Source: Kim Scipes, WorkingUSA, Volume 13, Issue 4, December 2010
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From the abstract:
Arguing that the American Federation of Labor (AFL) and then after 1955, the American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), have sought to dominate labor organizations globally, this article establishes this theoretically as “labor imperialism.” The essay then asks: why do labor leaders engage in labor imperialism? This essay examines past efforts to explain labor imperialism, and finds none of them sufficient. It suggests that this labor imperialism is based on an ideological approach. To test this hypothesis, it examines Labor’s foreign policy under AFL and then AFL-CIO presidents Gompers, Meany, Kirkland, and Sweeney, and argues that the hypothesis that Labor’s imperialism is based on an ideological construct is confirmed. Further, it identifies the ideological construct on which it is based as American Nationalism. It argues that efforts to challenge labor’s imperialism must specifically challenge the American nationalism upon which it is based.

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