Friday, September 19, 2008

Tom Lee votes to oppose the election of John Sweeney (and Richard Trumka) to head the AFL-CIO in 1995

AFM President Tom Lee was recently appointed chair of the General Board of AFL-CIO'S Dept. for Professional Employees (DPE) by John Sweeney and the AFL-CIO. (Sweeney is the current President of the AFL-CIO). However, in 1995, Lee was one of only two AFM IEB members (as the then AFM-VP) opposing the AFM's endorsement of Sweeney for President of the AFL-CIO. You don't suppose Lee just happened to forget to mention that when he accepted this appointment.

The following is an excerpt as reprinted in the Oct. 1995 DOS Orchestra Bulletin #45 which itself was a reprint from the Officers Edge, an official AFM Publication.

American Federation of Musicians Endorses Sweeney-Sorta

The top two officers of the AFL-CIO (namely President and Secretary Treasurer) are being contested at the labor body's upcoming convention. Incumbent President Tom Donahue and incumbent Secretary-Treasurer Barbara Easterling are being challenged by Presidential Candidate John Sweeney, President of the Services Employees International Union (SEIU), and Richard Trumka, President of the United Mine Workers.

The election contest presented the AFM's IEB with a unique challenge at its September 1995 meeting. The crux of the debate concerned whether or not the IEB should or could endorse a candidate and whether or not the IEB should or could require the AFM's AFL-CIO delegates to vote strictly in accordance with any endorsement the IEB might make (rather than in accordance with their individual judgement or conscience).

The AFM is represented at the AFL-CIO Convention by the AFM President and Secretary Treasurer (who are delegates by virtue of their office) and three delegates who are elected at large by the AFM-Convention. After extensive discussion, The IEB adopted a resolution  to "support John Sweeney and his ticket for the leadership of the AFL-CIO". The vote was 5 to 2 to endorse the Sweeney ticket (with then Vice-President Tom Lee and Sec.Treasurer Steve Sprague the only two IEB members opposed) The AFM VP from Canada Ray Petch abstaining and President Steve Young not voting.

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