I'm headed over to Navy Pier to the AFL-CIO convention in a moment to see Governor Blagojevich sign HB 1480 that protects the right to picket a workplace during his speech to the delegates, and I want to throw in my bold predition: the new CIO that is almost certain to form with the Change To Win coalition will be a godsend for the Democratic Party in 2006, not the disaster that some Dem strategists are bemoaning.
(Quick history: the reason why the UN of labor unions is called the AFL-CIO and has the hyphen is because of the merger of two distinct federations, the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations. The former was the original federation and has existed for almost a century, while the CIO was formed in the 30s by dissident unions that felt the AFL at the time was too slow, too bureaucratic and too entrenched to really organize workers into unions in order to raise their living standards. In the 50s, the two got together. But the unions and organizers and workers who invested in the CIO were the energy and heart of the successful labor movement that raised living standards. Similarly, the Change To Win people are likely to the be the most energetic and successful organizers in the next decade).
The Change To Win coalition is not unlike the Dean wing of the Democratic Party. They are impatient with D.C. insiders and realize that we need new ways to engage with people and a far bolder message and plan than we have been peddling for the last couple of decades. I think if you like Dean, you like the Change To Win split. If you fear or dislike Dean, you don't like the split.
And I like Dean.