Tough Love For Labor

A union crusader not afraid to criticize unions--and managers

In June, 1998, AFL-CIO President John J. Sweeney stunned the labor movement when he unceremoniously dumped Richard Bensinger as the federation's head of organizing. Many union leaders saw it as a betrayal of the vision for labor's renewal that Sweeney had preached since he took office in late 1995. Sweeney had urged unions to shift their priorities from serving current members to signing up new ones. And Bensinger had been his chief proselytizer. "To say that I was shocked and angry upon learning of this tragic event would be an understatement," Paperworkers President Boyd D. Young wrote in a blistering letter to Sweeney after the dismissal.

To continue reading this article you must be a Bloomberg Professional Service Subscriber.