WASHINGTON, Jan. 6 (UPI) -- Unions are using the election of U.S. President-elect Barack Obama as a springboard to reorganize and renew the labor movement, leaders say.
The prospect of a labor-friendly White House is prompting national union leaders to put their own houses in order to more effectively exert maximum influence on the incoming Obama administration, the Washington publication Politico reported Tuesday.
With AFL-CIO President John Sweeney retiring soon, a dozen or so presidents of the federation's largest unions are set to meet in Washington this week to deliberate establishing a new mission and developing a new set of priorities.
Politico said interviews with Sweeney, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees President Gerald McIntee, Service Employees International Union President Andy Stern and International Association of Fire Fighters General President Harold Schaitberger indicate their goal is to use Obama's election to reunite the AFL-CIO with a set of unions that broke away after a dispute with Sweeney.
"For American labor, 2009 will be a big year," McIntee told Politico. "We have a new administration. We have governors all across the country who are looking toward being able to organize more workers in red states that have become blue."